My friend Jennette and I shared a family doctor, one I’ve written about in this blog.
I call him the worst doctor in Ontario. After my chat with Jennette yesterday, I might elevate him to the worst doctor in Canada.
Dr. Clown has earned his pan-Canadian title. If there was a reality show called Worst Canadian Doctor, he’d win it. Hands down.
First, he nearly killed Jennette’s husband last summer because he failed to deliver the results of critical tests. This neglect led to Roger going into a two-month coma. Second, he gave my daughter birth control pills after refusing to give her an internal exam. Third, my daughter went to get her birth control pills only to be told that the brand had been long discontinued. Fourth, the man has a policy not to talk to patients on the phone under any circumstances, cancels appointments on the same day with no valid excuse, makes his patients wait more than an hour for a scheduled appointment, and has the surliest receptionist, a woman who has the demeanor of a tax collector.
I thought he couldn’t get much worse. That was until Jennette told me about her visit this week.
Roger has recovered from the coma but is still very, very sick. He takes eleven pills a day including insulin for diabetes. Jennette took him to the doctor this week to have his pills renewed. Dr. Clown handed her a script for four pills, not eleven, and she didn’t recognize any of them.
That’s right, he gave her four prescriptions for medication Roger doesn’t even take.
Thankfully, Jennette is the pill dispenser in the family and spoke up. I’m hoping, too, that the pharmacist would have questioned the script, but you never know. Doctors, after all, know everything.
I no longer go to this doctor and neither does my daughter. I called to complain to the Royal College of Family Physicians about him only to be warned that if my complaint went forward, my family would be exposed and the doctor could very well drop us from his practice. I didn’t pursue my complaint given that my daughter was still seeing him at the time, and she couldn’t find another doctor.
So the man is still allowed to operate a family medicine practice which is really only a sideline for his very lucrative foot clinic. His OHIP patients have to wait while he tends to his cash paying customers who are escorted in and out, while his OHIP patients have to be squeezed in.
I say to you: is this any way to run a health care system, when people are too afraid to speak up about inadequate and dangerous care because they are afraid they won’t be able to find another family doctor?
Jack Layton is right. We need to do something about the fact that many Canadians do not have access to regular family medicine. But we also need to find a way to make sure bad doctors don’t get away with practicing inferior medicine just because we have a shortage of doctors in this country.
The doctors’ associations need to address this kind of incompetence within their ranks, instead of closing ranks to protect their own.
And patients need to feel free to report doctors without fear of retribution.