Finding a doctor that’s right for you

  • Check out websites
  • Ask people you trust 
  • Try out several doctors
  • Think about what you value most in a doctor and then try out several doctors 
  • Don’t settle for the first available appointment with a mediocre doctor
  • Wait for an appointment with the best doctor
  • Use google, yelp reviews and Facebook reviews in your decisions 
  • Use a connection with a doctor’s current patient or some who works in the doctor’s office to get an appointment 

Finding a primary care physician or a specialist for a certain condition may be more challenging than you think. Just because you don’t need a new doctor now doesn’t mean you may not need one in the future. Moving, retirement and unforeseen events can necessitate finding a new doctor. 

We moved from Atlanta to Athens, Georgia in 2013. The difference between finding a doctor in Atlanta and Athens was startling. In Atlanta, we had a wonderful primary care doctor in our community until a flood in 2009. We watched the evening news in horror as our favorite doctor took Atlanta reporters on a tour of the damage to his clinic. My husband and I said to each other in jest, “look I think I see our medical records floating by.” The practice did not reopen and we had to find new primary care doctors. It was relatively easy to find new doctors in Atlanta accepting new patients. 

When we moved to Athens in 2013, we had a rude awakening. As a pastor, I asked congregants and coworkers about first finding pediatrians and discovered there was a good 3 month wait for the most reputable practice. The next practice was only accepting babies. Finally we found a practice that was accepting new patients after months of searching and I think even a few trips back to Atlanta in desperation for maintenance medication for the kids. It was unbelievable. Then the practice was bought by a local hospital system and the doctors all moved overnight to another location. 

As adults, we found a similar if not worse scenario. There was one reputable practice accepting patients at one of their two locations and only a couple of their doctors were accepting patients. I went to one for two years and finally couldn’t take the lack of respect and understanding of medical conditions and lab testing. Tests were performed that were decades old. I went in with complaints and was told how expensive the blood work was to run. I said fine I have insurance and money and am happy to pay. But the doctor was not especially excited by the prospect, I think perhaps because she didn’t know exactly what she was ordering. Another time I went in after hitting my tailbone on an end table which is humorous, but not when I am in dire pain and have been unable to sit or lie down for several days. They laughed at me. The final straw was the lack of concern of joint pain, fever and fatigue for months. 

I finally had enough and in desperation pleaded on Facebook with people in Athens for a doctor. Someone in my congregation called the doctor I currently see to get me an appointment. I actually had several kind souls respond with doctors that were accepting patients. 

I have discovered this is how it works in a small town. You have to know someone to get in to a medical practice. 

Also do not be afraid to try out doctors. I tried out three different practices that were recommended from Facebook friends. They were not bad experiences. I ultimately went with the doctor I thought would listen to me the best and not talk down to me. 

In my time as a pastor, I have heard people in the churches I serve feel trapped with a certain doctor. YOU ARE NOT TRAPPED. YOU CAN LEAVE A DOCTOR AT ANY TIME and SEEK TREATMENT ELSEWHERE WITHOUT ANY REASON! You have the power to do this!

You are not bound to a certain doctor. Please don’t stay with a doctor you don’t trust or that doesn’t listen to your concerns or one that rushes through an exam. Your health is too valuable. You are too valuable!

In health and wholeness,

Beth D.

About me

Full time pastor, mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend. Part-time patient. First major surgery was c-section of my 10lb 14.6 oz first born son in 2004 after laboring for 17 hours.  Second major surgery was scheduled c-section of my 8lb 10 oz second born son in 2009. The difference in the two experiences led to a realization that not all medical practices are created equal and not all hospitals are created equal. I also realized that doctors don’t have all the answers. And that perhaps because you live in your own body you may have a better sense of what is going on. I think my initial passion for good quality medical care came from the birth of my first son. 

 To this day I have very strong feelings of the doctor who allowed me to go two weeks past my due date and deliver an 11 lb baby. I told him the week before I did not want a 10 lb baby and he felt my stomach and said, “he’s 8lbs.” That did not seem real scientific to me as a former analytical chemist. Then the doctor allowed me to labor for 17 hours without checking to see my baby’s position (he was face up). I would not dialate. Only when the baby’s heart rate started to drop did they decide to rush a c-section. To this day I do not understand why:

  1. I was allowed to go 2 weeks over 
  2. Babies weight couldn’t have been estimated a little bit better
  3. They couldn’t have figured out he was face up
  4. Why they let me labor in excruciating back labor pain for 17 hour without wondering what might be causing that 

I am thankful my child was born safely but he had been in there a long time and his blood sugar was low when born. He could have swallowed meconium. Thankfully he did not. 

After one or two follow up visits for me, I never returned to the practice. This began my passion for quality healthcare. 

About this blog

After countless doctor visits, ER visits, imaging studies, minor procedures and multiple surgeries, some good, some bad and some down right evil I have decided to share bits and pieces of wisdom I have picked up along the way.

I am a life long learner and ask a lot of questions. I am some doctors’ favorite patient and others were probably relieved when we parted ways.

In my 40 years I have had 5 major surgeries and live with chronic pain a lot of the time because of the difficulty it is to find the right doctor for the different health challenges I have faced in a timely manner.

I work full time as a pastor and visit patients in hospitals all the time. I have found my congregants enjoy visits from me because they know I have been where they are. I can even answer some of their questions and if I happen to be present when a doctor or nurse is present I often understand what the doctor or nurse is saying. My husband is a pharmacist so that adds a little more knowledge. I worked one summer for a physical therapy firm doing medical billing. Maybe all of these events have led to this blog. I don’t know, but I do know I have a passion to help people get their medical questions answered and find the right and best possible medical care. I believe in healing and wholeness and pray that we all might find that.

This blog is written for patients primarily or for medical professionals who wonder what it is like to sit in the bed or lie on the table or wonder in confusion at what you just said. Maybe this blog will help bridge the gap between patient and medical professional. Or at least help patients be more proactive in their medical care.

In healing and wholeness,

Beth D.

Using frustration with our medical systems for good

Over the past year I have become more and more frustrated by our medical systems in the United States, particularly in the state I live in – Georgia. I have become so frustrated that I have decided to do something about it – start a blog and become a simulated patient at the medical college to help future doctors care for patients (more about the simulated patient experience later).

When I attended the training for being a simulated patient for medical students I learned that we are facing a doctor shortage in my state which explained some of the difficulty I had in finding doctors who were accepting new patients or who had appointments within a 3 month window for existing patients.

Over the past year, my husband and I turned 40 and we had 7 ER visits, 4 hospitalization of 3 or more days, 2 significant surgeries, and several “minor” procedures. We have had countless CTs and MRIs and ultrasounds this year.

We aren’t experts but we have learned a great deal about being patients and how to navigate the complicated medical system. I am writing this blog because I am passionate about healing and wholeness and about helping others find good care and find answers to their questions. We have had excellent care and we have received care that is worthy of a lawsuit and care that I filed a complaint against. I am not against medical professionals and have utmost respect for doctors, nurses, surgeons, techs, pharmacists, and all medical professionals that care for sick and hurting people so this isn’t a blog to bash doctors. This is a blog to help the average person take control of their medical care, learn to ask questions, answer questions and get the best care possible.

I am a pastor and have visited countless people and their families in the hospital. I have witnessed frustration and confusion. I myself have experienced the same thing. My husband is a pharmacist so we truly do respect medicine and the medical community. This blog is for patients. And for doctors or other medical professionals wondering what it is like to be a frustrated and confused patient sitting on the other side of the table or bed.