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Just lost it with allergists's secretary: did I overreact? (long)

(12 Posts)
expatkat Fri 11-Feb-05 14:50:47

Several months ago I posted that I thought my kids had allergies (eggs & antibiotics) and I wanted to know for sure. I was given loads of good advice, including that we pay for private allergy testing, which I took.

GP sent us to one of the best NHS allergists in London, who runs a little private sideline. But he has too many patients, and no time for them!

First, he was unable to offer a penicillin challenge to ds because the hospital out of which he runs his private practice has no emergency back-up facilities. Fair enough. So he informed us that ds would have to go to the back of the NHS queue, and wait 6+ months for a penicilllin/cephalosporin challenge at the NHS hospital he also works out of. TOTALLY understandable and fair.. . .BUT, why is he accepting money from us?

Ironically enough, mere weeks after ds saw the allergist, one of my worst fears was realized. DS had to be hospitalized for septicaemia. He needed IV antibiotics, specifically a distant relative of penicillin. We braced ourselves, preparing for the worst. A nurse stood by his bed, ready to call the doctor in case of anaphylactic shock. Indeed ds did have a reaction, but it was relatively mild (face swelled up to twice its size and neck began to itch) and easily controlled with some piriton in his drip.

So it's fair to say the private allegist wasn't too helpful. . .

Now we're waiting on the results of ds's MRI ordered by the allergist (to check his adenoids, a diffferent matter). The MRI was taken in mid-January. It is now mid February. I did not want to be viewed as a pushy American mum, so I waited patiently. Finally I rang yesterday and was PROMISED that the doctor would call before leaving on his trip today. The secretary then let slip a comment the doctor had made that suddenly made me worry about the MRI result.

But there was no phone call. I've just left a message on the secretary's answerphone telling her that Dr X clearly has no time for us, and could I please pick up ds's xray and report so I can have it read by a specialist in the US, where I'll be for 3 months this spring, as I no longer want to deal with this doctor!

colditzmum Fri 11-Feb-05 14:53:06

Totally fair reaction if you ask me. If he can't deliver the goods, he should not be charging you.

Chandra Fri 11-Feb-05 14:55:38

Don't know what to say, but that's what I do, take the file and see the specialist at home, you can not be waiting for ever.

Chandra Fri 11-Feb-05 14:57:34

Which brings the question... hos is it possible that even going private is so difficult to see a specialist in the U.K.?

P.S. I'm not criticising the UK, I just want to know why.

coppertop Fri 11-Feb-05 15:16:53

The secretary IMO was totally unprofessional in making comments about what may or may not have been the Dr's reaction to the results. That kind of info should only come from the Dr.

I don't understand why you are having to pay if nothing was done about the allergy-testing.

SofiaAmes Fri 11-Feb-05 22:57:12

I don't understand why things should take so long if you are seeing a doctor privately. I think you have every right to complain. Who cares if they think you are a pushy american are just doing the best by your kids.
By the way, you probably already know this, but I've found that seeing doctors privately (ie without insurance) in the usa is FAR cheaper than in the uk. I regularly take my children to visit a well known (and expensive) paediatrician in la and have had various jabs done by her as well. It cost a fraction of what I paid to see a private paediatrician in london.

LapsedGymJunkie Fri 11-Feb-05 23:02:50


Take no prisoners, these are your babies

WideWebWitch Fri 11-Feb-05 23:12:54

Well, he shouldn't be accepting money from you imo expatkat, he hasn't done anything other than tell you his clinic is too busy to help! He should have told you that free! Sorry, I'm a bit pissed but his sec was vastly unprofessional imo and you shouldn't worry about whatever she let slip, fgs though! She SO shouldn't have said anything! Fire him, pay someone who actually does what they say they'll do I think. Sorry if this isn't that helpful but no, you didn't over react, he's taking the piss imo

WideWebWitch Fri 11-Feb-05 23:14:04

btw, you oprob know this but pissed in uk = drunk, rather than pissed = upset as in USA. Hic!

expatkat Sat 12-Feb-05 00:05:02

I knew exactly what you meant, www

Having a go at secretary worked. I got the MRI results plus the x-ray, which I'll be taking the US (know what you mean about expense, sofiaames) and it turns out ds has infected adenoids and sinus disease, which will have to be treated by a cocktail of antibiotics and steroids. (Fantastic!)

Would have been nice to have found this out a month ago!

Anyway, at least we now have an answer as to why ds has been so lethargic for so many years now. Poor thing has a chronic infection AND can't sleep properly due to super enlarged adenoids and sleep apnea.

Anyway, sometimes it pays to be assertive, I guess. Thanks, everyone!

PS I was charged because the doctor did some random other allergy tests for ds--horses, pollen, dustmites, etc--all of which he was NOT allergic to. Admittedly, he also examined ds and ordered the (necessary) MRI. So while he didn't do the thing I really NEEDED him to do (i.e. check for the penicillin & cephalosporin allegies) he did do OTHER things, hence the charge. Expensive, too!

Twiglett Sat 12-Feb-05 19:07:32

I think you are getting worried about the fact that you are American

As a brit I would be furious, I would not have paid I don't think and I would definitely expect far better service.

With DH's private rheumatologist we get appointments within 7 days, test results back same day (or within 48 hours dependent on what is needed), telephone consultations on request (usually fitted in within 24 hours). This guy is the TOP of his field for DH's condition by the way and incredibly busy .. so busy he has had to cancel retirement

I think you had incredibly bad service and I would write a strongly worded complaint.

Tissy Sat 12-Feb-05 19:59:20

The secretary shouldn't have promised what she couldn't have delivered, and certainly shouldn't have said ANYTHING about the scan result- she's not qualified to interpret the result, so even if she has it in front of her, she should say nothing!

But if you are being seen privately, you pay for the consultation, and item by item for tests done. Waiting a month for results is, however, unacceptable, and it sounds as if the allergist and his secretary are both very disorganised. Is his "private" secretary by any chance the same person as his NHS one? She may be as overworked as he is.

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