What’s the Point of Medical Records If Your Physician Won’t Look at Them?

After I moved from Arizona to California, I had to set up my new medical team. Right off the bat I had a doctor question my diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. This was different than the doctors I had dealt with in the past who didn’t believe in fibromyalgia, no this one was just adamant that I didn’t have PsA. He refused to even look at the records from my former rheumatologist and had no other explanation to offer me except that he didn’t think I had it. Instead, he wanted to test me himself.

My doctor doubted my diagnosis

After going through all the testing that I had gone through before and ending up with the same results, he finally concurred that I indeed did have psoriatic arthritis. Although I had no problem about his wanting to be confident that I had a particular chronic illness, I don’t think it was fair that I had to pay for the testing and extra office visits to prove it to him. Why? Because I was not the one questioning or requesting an investigation of my diagnosis and he didn’t have any other explanation for his disbelief other than he didn’t think I had it. Based on my medical history and status at the time there was no reason for him to doubt the diagnosis of another doctor.

The cost of diagnostic tests

Although retesting validated my diagnosis, it also put a huge dent into my bank account. Having to spend thousands on tests that were unnecessary was not something I expected to do. Especially when I had enough other things going on that did warrant testing. By the time he got around to addressing those issues, I was broke. Testing for the other issues had to wait. It still irritates me that I could have had the results of the testing that was really needed a year earlier had he not wasted our first year together treating me like someone who had never been to a doctor a day in their life.

I no longer see that physician. Soon after accepting my diagnosis our coverage was changed and I moved on to another doctor. I felt a wave of relief until...I ran into the same problems with that doctor and the next, the only difference was which diagnosis they didn’t agree with.

The re-test dance

My experiences in the past 8 years have taught me that if a doctor is unwilling to accept the diagnosis that fits and has no reason to be questioned and wants to start from step zero, they aren’t in the business of helping me, they are in the business of taking my money.

It’s easy to say keep looking, there’s a good doctor somewhere. To be honest, if I had the energy I would have left each one the moment they began their retest dance. However, the reality was that I was exhausted. Not just physically, but emotionally too! Moving and putting together a new medical team when you are contending with multiple chronic illnesses isn’t as easy as just finding a new primary physician for your healthy family members. Because most of our teams are made up of specialists, it takes months to get an appointment. The last thing you want to do after waiting three months for an appointment is to wait another three or more months to see someone else. That’s six months that your illnesses are going untreated or that you risk of running out of medication. The sad part is that none of this had to happen. All they had to do was accept what my former physicians had diagnosed me with.

I am curious if anyone else has had issues with new doctors not accepting the diagnosis made by another physician or if it has just been my own dumb luck. What’s your experience been?

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