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Physical Health problems - feeling dismissed because of MH

(15 Posts)
PennyPebbles Tue 19-Jan-16 19:53:46

I had to see a consultant today for a follow up after some tests. I've been feeling physically ill will extremely low iron that can't be corrected with supplements since last March. One of the tests showed a problem, but the other one didn't, so the consultant said as the tests don't correlate, I can't have a diagnosis or any treatment. I queried this and asked if there was more testing that could be done or the possibility to treat and monitor my iron levels, but he said no, I just had to accept having ferritin levels so low they can't be detected.

He then said 'you are getting rather upset about this, is this why you're on antidepressant medication?' I wasn't rude or crying, just asking if he could offer me any hope of sorting out something that is leaving me on my knees everyday. I said that I didn't think my mental health had any bearing on my duodenum, to which he replied 'let me stop you there, I'm the doctor, I decide what's relevant' and said that he would write to my GP as I seemed unstable.

All of this with two sixth form students applying to study medicine sat at the back of the room writing furiously in notepads.

Has anyone had any experience of this and any suggestions as to what I could do next? I'm thinking of paying to see someone privately as I can't go on feeling this ill.

dontrunwithscissors Tue 19-Jan-16 20:11:50

I can sympathise. I have a bipolar diagnosis. I spent months going back and forth to my GP, complaining of extreme fatigue and kept being told its depression--despite the fact I was also losing hair, had dry skin. It's taken 9 months before they agreed to do a blood test and--surprise, surprise--I was aneamic. Thankfully, iron supplements seem to be working for me. Ironically, the medical professionals who seem best about taking physical illnesses serious are psychiatrists.

Personally, I would suggest making a complaint and asking for a second opinion. These kind of doctors will continue to behave that way until they get kicked into touch. It sounds like a second opinion is what you need.

I'm assuming they've checked for pernicious aneamia?

PennyPebbles Tue 19-Jan-16 20:22:05

Thanks for replying.

I've not got pernicious anaemia, just iron deficiency. Basically one of the biopsies they took showed coeliac disease but the other didn't. So that's that, forget it and goodbye apparently. My GP retired on New Years Eve so I've had to change surgery and nobody seems very bothered. No bloody wonder I need antidepressants is it?

Absentmindedwoman Tue 19-Jan-16 22:09:20

"He then said 'you are getting rather upset about this, is this why you're on antidepressant medication?' I wasn't rude or crying, just asking if he could offer me any hope of sorting out something that is leaving me on my knees everyday. I said that I didn't think my mental health had any bearing on my duodenum, to which he replied 'let me stop you there, I'm the doctor, I decide what's relevant' and said that he would write to my GP as I seemed unstable.

All of this with two sixth form students applying to study medicine sat at the back of the room writing furiously in notepads."

Holy Christ. This is NOT ok! It is NOT the nineteen-fifties and the doctor cannot speak to you this way.

Was he an older man? Not that this excuses it at all, but I wonder if he is behaving in this unacceptable way to many patients, and just has not been called out on it.

Please make a complaint about this idiot. I would suggest contacting your local MIND or a branch of Voiceability to ask how your should take this forward.

PennyPebbles Tue 19-Jan-16 22:30:42

Not old, mid-40s maybe, or perhaps a bit older.

Just felt so like a child, being belittled and told that my questions/concerns were not actually of any concern to him because I take ADs.

The main thing though is that nothing is being done about a physical problem because when I try to insist that it is, I get called unstable and it felt like I was being 'threatened' into just keeping quiet and accepting that nothing is going to be done.

I have already had to make a complaint after I was sent a letter meant for another patient and they received my test results, PALS were good with this but I'm wary of complaining about this because I get the feeling it will be dismissed as me being 'hysterical' because of my MH.

LittleLionHeart Tue 19-Jan-16 22:35:06

I thought if one biopsy showed coeliac it definitely was? Not all of your intestine will be damaged which is why they do multiple samples. Go gluten free anyway?

MiscellaneousAssortment Tue 19-Jan-16 22:39:07

I suspect the students were busily writing 'what a arrogant cock this GP is'!

How pathetic he said 'I'm the Doctor here ' as some kind of power trip.

It's very hard to get physical health sorted if mental health is used as a box to put someone in and as a way of discrediting them.

I am physically disabled, and had a horrible experience before Xmas with an arrogant beep of a psychologist who after having met me for a matter of minutes told me 'I was using my 'disability' as an excuse for not engaging with life...'

As I have had to fight and fight and fight to keep going, often deteriorating my condition to keep going, and keep going through terrible crises, it was deeply offensive of him to make an inaccurate assumption and push it onto me.

One of the problems I was hoping to get to grips with is my problems in not listening to my bodies needs and limits, and doing what others expect.

I reacted to his stupid comment by trying to explain that was completely untrue, and then he said as I had got so upset it meant it was true!

Vile man. All the way through he kept imposing upon me his own (often completely wrong) assumptions & interpretations, and silenced me by telling me my disagreement was a sign he was right, or twisting my words and telling me he was the one who was able to work out what was going on here, not me as the patient.

You never win with this type of person.

Wanker.

I sound cross but ok now, at the time I had a panic attack that evening and couldn't stop crying at how horrible it all was. Refusing to see him again helped alot with that smile

Was the idiot doctor a consultant or a GP?

Who's dealing with your mental health? Sometimes a counsellor or other HCP can help.

I do think that physical and mental health symptoms can overlap, and one can be a symptom of the other.

But to dismiss physical symptoms that are obviously impacting on someone's life, is rubbish. And over reaching. Especially on the strength of two tests giving different results. More investigations are needed, not 'I'll pick the one that I like the sound of'

Either way, you need a new GP. It's worth trying to find one you click with and shows a level of mutual respect.

Good luck flowers

PennyPebbles Tue 19-Jan-16 22:57:20

Sorry you had a bad experience too.

He was a consultant gastroenterologist, he said that they used to just take one biopsy (the one that was normal) but now they take two. The one from higher up showed the damage, the other didn't. My blood test was negative too.

I have been gluten free for two weeks now on the advice of my new GP, but because he won't confirm the diagnosis I can't get access to a dietitian or prescription foods. I asked him if I should stay gluten free and he just shrugged and said 'if you want' like I'd embarked on some kind of fad diet because I'm obviously irrational.

MiscellaneousAssortment Tue 19-Jan-16 23:07:52

Humm, can you discuss this with the GP?

Especially if LittleLionHeart is right.

A gastroenterologist is very much out of his area of expertise to ignore your physical symptoms (and half the test results) in favour of a mental health diagnosis... Based on you being upset at the prospect of no treatment, explanation, further tests or resolution for your physical illness. Wonder why anyone would be upset about that?!

dontrunwithscissors Wed 20-Jan-16 11:16:29

I think it's no surprise that those with mental illness have a shorter life expectancy. Part of it is the fact that physical illnesses are ignored--as this article mentions 2/3 of the way down.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-13414965

LovelyBath Wed 20-Jan-16 17:20:33

I'm sorry to hear this has happened. I agree with trying to speak to the GP about what happened. I remember being referred to gastro in the past while on antidepressants and they simply wrote 'has a history of low mood' but it didn't affect how they health with the tests etc. So it doesn't always happen (and shouldn't) however I have had different from another person, a surgeon when he put my pain down to mental health. Another consultant, when i mentioned I felt my GP put my symptoms down to anxiety, said he'd write to her and he said 'she is very pleasant, and sensible about her bowel problems. She has some pain" which I thought was helpful but quite funny.

Sometimes it feels like they don't quite believe you, I think. If you have a history of depression or anxiety I mean. I looked up and it said if they call you a pleasant patient it means you are in good mental state. Hmm

Wantingtoforget Wed 20-Jan-16 19:43:14

My iron is ridiculously low - it registers as undetectable - so the consultant knows there must be a physical problem. He sent me for the gastroscopy that showed coeliac disease in the biopsy. No suggestion of not believing me - the blood tests etc. prove I am ill. Problem is that now he is refusing to do any further testing, provide a diagnosis or suggest treatment. When I questioned this he then started insinuating that my MH was making me irrational. He definitely had the God-complex.

I am trying to get an appointment with my new GP but at the moment there is nothing after 4pm for at least another week (I'm a teacher so can't take any time off for GP appointments). I think I'll ask for a referral to a private gastroenterologist to see if it is indeed the case that you can just stop trying to diagnose someone because it seems a bit hard and they are taking antidepressants.

PennyPebbles Wed 20-Jan-16 19:46:55

That last post was me, used a name change by accident. DOH!

flylikethewind Thu 21-Jan-16 08:47:11

Here's a link to the guidelines for diagnosis of coeliac disease:
www.bsg.org.uk/clinical-guidelines/small-bowel-nutrition/guidelines-on-the-diagnosis-and-management-of-adult-coeliac-disease.html

Table 1 later in the document gives advice regarding blood tests and biopsies.
You can get a negative blood test and positive biopsy. Did the consultant say what else what be causing you to have a positive biopsy? Please ask for a second opinion from another gastroenterologist. Unfortunately there is a still a lack of knowledge surrounding coeliac, even with gastroenterologists.

FanjofortheMammaries Thu 21-Jan-16 08:48:46

Wow he sounds like an utter arsehole sad

Hope you get some answers

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