GPs – dealing with 5

Further to this post in which we reported that one of our readers claims that a certain Sydney GP, Dr AAA, had advised him that a test on him had turned up something that was a “life and death matter,” and that when the reader consulted a Specialist, Dr BBB, on the matter he was told that it wasn’t a life and death matter at all and not to worry about it!!! Just extraordinary!!!

You would have thought that the GP would have done some basic checking on the matter himself, perhaps thinking, “Am I going to look like a real idiot if I tell this bloke it’s a life and death matter, when it’s not?” Wouldn’t you?

The irony of this is that the Specialist, Dr BBB, that the reader had consulted, was one which Dr AAA had told him he could refer him to if he wished – so Dr AAA could have emailed Dr BBB himself, asking, “If I tell my patient that the problem he’s got is a life and death matter, am I going to look like an idiot?” But no, the Dr AAAs of this world don’t do this sort of thing.

Fortunately, our reader hadn’t gone to the trouble and expense of having a face-to-face consultation with Specialist Dr BBB – he’d simply emailed him asking if helping people with his problem was “within his areas of expertise?” – to get the advice that it wasn’t a life and death matter and not to worry about it.

(By the way, Dr BBB’s name was/is A/Prof. James van Gelder – ordinary email address, Thank goodness for the Dr van Gelders of this world. In more than 10 years of searching we’ve found about 6 of them.)

(Also, by the way, Dr AAA had also told our reader that, as an alternative, he could refer him to Specialist Dr DDD, whose name he’s forgotten, but when our reader emailed her asking her if helping people with his problem was within her areas of expertise, she emailed back that it wasn’t.┬áMore time trouble and expense saved!

Also our reader claims that another test he’d had done had indicated that he had a “fatty liver,” and when he consulted Dr AAA about this, he’d almost literally wrung his hands saying, “Oh dear, so may of my patients have fatty livers.” But he’d not been able to help him in any way – obviously not knowing anything about fatty livers, and obviously not going to do anything to find out about them, even though he said he had lots of patients with fatty livers.

People like those at the Australian Medical Association are always saying things like that GPs are “the cornerstone of our health system,” as though they are some sort of gods, always knowing everything about everything, when too often, the experiences of patients with GPs are like those of our reader on these two occasions.

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