A Patient Filed A Complaint! | Wednesday Checkup | Doctor Mike

A Patient Filed A Complaint! | Wednesday Checkup | Doctor Mike

For this week’s Wednesday Checkup, I wanted to share a story with you about how a patient encounter did not go as planned in my office. I thought I did everything right but the outcome was not what I expected.

In life, there are many times when we have good intentions where the outcomes are bad. During those times we need to evaluate why that happened so that we can avoid repeating the same mistake over again.

If you have an idea of something you want me to cover in depth, please let me know because I take your requests seriously. We will be back with more Medical Drama Review Series this Sunday so please submit more names of shows/episodes you’d like for me to watch. Love you all!

– Doctor Mike Varshavski

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34 Responses

  1. Oday Adi says:

    I had a very similar experience with one of my patients! Don’t always take the blame, especially if you know you did everything you could.

  2. Jasmine Alexandria says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us! I am a counselor and I can completely relate to your story. I have learned over the years to try my best not to personalize my client’s behaviors. Easier said than done! As you pointed out this young man had a lot of stressors occurring in his life, and I’m sure this is not the first time he made a complaint when something did not go his way. It sucks that he did not have the courage to air his grievances to your face. You didn’t do anything wrong. In fact you went above and beyond to try to understand this patient’s pain. Hopefully he gets the relief he is looking for. Make sure you practice self-care 🙂

  3. sdancer22 says:

    I’m a physical therapist in my final affiliation and have this conversation about back pain and MRIs every day with patients. Unfortunately, some patients have a very fixed mindset about what they expect to hear and I’ve had similar situations occur. Finessing education for each patient is definitely a learning process but it certainly makes each day interesting!

    • Kim Roberts says:

      I don’t understand the approach of some patients – I go to a doctor specifically because they are a specialist (or general practitioner) in their field and I am not. My job as a patient is to relay the symptoms of my malady to the doctor in an effective, brief and coherent way, it’s not to go to the doctor with a diagnosis – that’s the doctor’s job! People who think they know better than a trained professional simply because they can use Google boggle my mind.

    • Celios - Chaos: approved! says:

      This exactly! Its tough to be PT, ik x)

    • Sean says:

      Sadly, my father is one of those people. He has had chronic back pain which is now combined with leg pain. He wants a doctor to fix him, which is not likely to happen. He refuses to develop a routine of diet and exercise that he knows can help, as he starts doing things to help, then goes back to old habits and the pain returns in force. He just wants surgery to resolve the issue, but has been told mutliple times that it’s not a possibility, due to the nature of his problems ,and the fact that he is on blood thinners for previous heart surgery. He (and I) have carbohydrate triggered inflammation issues. I was diagnosed a couple years ago with RA (in my late 30s). Unrelated to that, for the sake of science, I tried out this new ‘keto’ diet thing I had been hearing about (it was before it was wildly popular) and low and behold, I dropped about 40 of the 80lbs of extra weight I carry, and my RA symptoms stopped entirely. I felt like I was 20 again instead of 70 like I had been feeling. I brought this to my father’s attention, but he refuses to change habits. Unfortunately, it seems, with some people, no amount of leading to water can make a horse drink.

    • sdancer22 says:

      Sean unfortunately you can’t change or help everyone….you just try your best.

    • Durakken says:

      Yes and no. Your job as the patient is also to be informed and think critically about what is being told to you. Just because a doctor has a diploma doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes, have all the info, are good people, or even are good doctors that should have that diploma. You’re there to be treated and get a diagnosis, but that doesn’t mean you should just believe what they’re telling you no questions asked, especially since their diagnosis for many things is based on what you tell them which, in a lot of cases, you don’t tell them accurate information because you don’t often know what is and isn’t a sign of most problems.

      Most people only go to doctors when there is something that is inconvenient and they talk about those things that relate to that inconvenience. They don’t relate things that aren’t really all that inconvenient even if its persistent and those things are usually early signs of more serious issues which down the road have those inconvenient problems, but at that point things have progressed too much.

  4. Sarah Thompson says:

    I wish you were my doctor, aside from the fact that you’re super cute, you are so personable and look to build a relationship with your patients, I am terrified of my doctor because she seems really judge-y,. I know her intentions must be good because she’s a doctor, she wants to help people, but I’m afraid to be judged because of my weight or mental health. I am not the healthiest person, obviously, but I want to get better but I am afraid of my doctor, honestly doctors in general too. Maybe it’s because you are the only doctor I watch on you tube, but you don’t seem like the guy to judge people, you really care and want to help. 🙂

  5. Odeleya R says:

    I don’t think you did anything wrong. You did your job as a Dr and tried to figure out what was wrong and have him options to help him. He told you he was on the same page but he obviously wasn’t if he filled a complaint. He should’ve just told you something instead of being on a totally different page than you. I truly believe it wasn’t your fault and there wasn’t anything you could’ve significantly done better to prevent this situation. You could’ve even been wrong about his diagnoses and you still did the right thing by not telling him to do some surgery or take pills. If you were right about the diagnoses he wouldn’t even need that MRI which is for his good not yours

    • unatikan says:

      ofc he didnt do anything wrong.but some people like he suffered several year seen ton of doctor he want answer and solotions he isnt doctor he is desprate .he all time at has this pain probably seen ton of doctor and probably all said to him streng up back muscle terapies reducing stres.its all ture he even do some .but still in pain.its hard to live like that.they lost hope after some point.and get same asnwer not get clear answer frustiontated them.reminder at past even some today get some surgery without really need becouse of some doc goes easy way or they didnt digostnted right.today doctor avoid surgeries as long as posible.unless they had nerve dmg like lose control weakness on knees hands real big problem.its kind annoying neverendling pain.dr mike isnt wrong .but probably that patience seen 20 doctor before him get always same or similar answer .maybe dr mikes when explane it.patence thing he is hinting mental problem pyscosomitic not real pyscial.even he didnt mean like that.and he was probably done his mind enough no one give me answer i need mr and find why and see what going on.so not all this kind patience just been bitch unreasonable bad person.they lose hopes not get answer not get solotion.they just need to adapt cronic pain their entrie life.that not easy .dr mike as explane it he isnr bad shape but even without past back problem 5 day a week 12 hour shift u stant still or do some labor u back can be at pain.im not saying to odelya i start just from that but im talking general sdancer or others .they not wrong but need be understant why this happen.reason is u had pain 5 year over seen 20 over doctor not fixed just if u good patence be managable .even they not have hard stresfull work.its affect mood and mental health.i bet depression is high on cronic pain head aches migrens back neck pains some injures etc paitence too.not everyone get better good mood with do best thing for them.most people are give up.spiral down to more deep.

    • TheKrazMaster says:

      +unatikan English please?

    • Puppy lover says:

      Yeah, so pretty much the patient just misinterpreted Mike’s intentions while helping him. He believed Mike might have not cared or wanted to give the patient the best care. Unfortunately Mike didnt give off the intentions he had tried to apply, so pretty much just a misunderstanding. I dont believe Mike did anything wrong either. The patient probably believed Mike didnt care or wanted to deny him care in some way. While the patient believed medication or some operation would better hold the solution than physical therapy, it may have not been and the symptoms the patient displayed didnt seem immediate to Mike, so what Mike told the patient, seemed rightful because there was no reason for medication or an M.R.I. due to lack of immediate symptoms.

  6. Laura Walley says:

    Oh, and question, does your credibility as a doctor get questioned often because of how young you are or because they know you’re well known?

  7. Benjamin says:

    I think he should do a video shirtless…

    What? Who said that?

  8. Amber Blaylock says:

    Teachers get this a lot, too. Many times, people fail to realize just how much knowledge and experience you have that influence your recommendations. Instead, they google a few pieces of information about their kid’s specific situation and become instant experts. That’s not to say that teachers are always right, but we do have a great deal of reasoning behind every decision we make, and we only want what’s best for the student. When parents don’t understand that, they can become incredibly entitled/belligerent/rude, causing you to second guess yourself constantly. All that to say, I get it. Lol. You’re not alone, and there will always be more positive than negative. 🙂

    • Ryan Moulder says:

      I think part of the problem too is you have teachers who ARE idiots and aren’t interested in helping students, so people end up with a bad taste in their mouth. If someone has had doctors who only want to get in, get done, and get the check, they’re less likely to want to trust and work with doctors, which is unfortunate.

    • Yohana says:

      Manypeople dont like teachers bc they let all of their bad mood out on them like perosnal Problems or bad grades or just annything. As a Student I find it hard to watch sometimes because ist never fair to let your Anger out on other People.

  9. Page Mcdonald says:

    So I suffer from Chronic Intractable Migraines, it’s been occurring for the past 3 years & I have made almost the same sounding complaint against a neurologist but for a different reason than the CBT seemed to infer. My issue was that the Doctor seemed hell bent on contradicting everything I said. I said I’d done the Elimination diet to find triggers, she said I hadn’t done it long enough or strict enough (I had done it 3 times). When I brought up my sleep schedule, she claimed it was unacceptable and was causing my issues. She recommended a chiropractor, despite me having seen one prior. I asked if she could test my hormone levels, a prevalent source for migraines, but she told me that I didn’t need that, just to eliminate foods (none of which are my triggers), change my sleep schedule (even if it disrupted my life & work) and see a different chiropractor. Not that what she suggested was at all bad advice for “Chronic Migraine” but it was clear she hadn’t listened to me, and made me feel as if I was responsible for the pain I have been in. I didn’t see how having a hormone panel would have caused any undue stress on the medical field & if nothing came of it, great another cause I can eliminate from my list but denying it & saying to try behavioral therapy styles felt dismissive.

  10. Schweins Wolle says:

    Hey Dr. Mike,

    I really like the paintings or pictures on the wall behind you. Would you maybe show us these in one of your next videos?

  11. Cebile Fortunate Sibiya says:

    I can see how much this affected you… I’m sorry you had to go through that..
    I have a similar story.(I’m the bad guy in the story).’ When I was teenager I was always sick.. I kept going to my family doctor and he finally referred me to a psychiatrist , and he told me most of my illnesses are mental related.. I did not understand him at all.. I felt like he was saying I’m making up all of this ..because my family also thought I was seeking attention so when the doctor told my parents this I lost faith in my doctor and I refused to go the psychiatrist. I kept getting worse and refused to go to any doctor until I was admitted in a hospital for multiple infections.IBS. Headaches. knots everywhere.. in constant pain… When I was in the hospital the doctor asked me to see a therapist while I’m still in the hospital.. also ended up seeing a psychiatrist . I was diagnosed with sever depression and anxiety disorder and this was caused by hormones imbalance.. I wish I listened to my doctor. haha ..I would have saved myself years of pain .. now I’m good.. healthy .. so I sympathize with both of you.. When he finally does what you advised, he will realize he could have got help much sooner… I’m sorry that you feel like maybe your intentions were misunderstood…

    Sorry.I know my writing is atrocious. ?

  12. ambermichelles says:

    It’s really sad that someone would complain that you spent time with them. I have a genetic thing, (no pain, no requests for drugs) and docs spent 90 seconds with me and asked where to make out the doctor excuse slip… (self employed, don’t need those). It wasn’t until a very excellent doctor listened, diagnosed me, still no drugs, just a few lifestyle changes. Changed my life. Please don’t be disheartened by one complaint.

    • Aleistra rose says:

      im so happy that you didn’t have to use drugs to feel better and I’m glad to see a good doctor story. its sad that some of them do just do what we ask because its easier. we need more like dr mike!

  13. Dindia says:

    I can kind of understand where he was coming from only because of the manipulation point. I was manipulated for for a long time by somebody close to me and what that teaches you is to be skeptic of intention to any person who is conflicting with what you think is a good choice. I personally love when doctors spend more time with me but I could see a scenario where that specific mind set could happen with me.

  14. Bri M says:

    I thought the thumbnail was you crying then I almost cried..also I love you, thank you bye

  15. Tatyana2006 says:

    I have a question. Do you encounter a lot of patients who have a distrust in Drs? I’m Russian and I know that in the Slavic community this is a huge problem. A lot of people seems to think that Drs in the US just want to make money from you by prescribing unnecessary drugs and performing unnecessary procedures. I’ve noticed this more in the older generation. They seem to think that because in Russia medicine wasn’t for profit that Drs were more honest. How do you think Drs can build more trust with their patients?

  16. F Maz says:

    Has that patient told you he wasn’t interested in the avenues you recommended?

    … Seems like you were expected to read his mind.

    Obviously he is smart and articulate enough to complain but not able to speak up face to face?

  17. Fiona Stibbles says:

    Morning Dr Mike ? I’m sorry to hear that someone didn’t like your approach. I live in Scotland and suffered low back pain and sciatica for several years managed on over the counter pain meds, when that no longer worked my GP sent me to see the physiotherapist it was only after they took a thorough history and made a plan which wasn’t effective that the physio wrote to my GP requesting an mri. It showed significant erosion and 2 bulging discs over L3 4 and 5. This injury was done years previously as a young nurse back in the good old days of manually lifting all patients using our now banned moving and handling techniques xx I won’t go into the rest but I know mri scans are expensive. I hope your patient finds what he’s looking for. I think your method of holistic consultation should be a model all Drs use ??xx take care can’t wait for next video xxx

  18. Spine says:

    I completely agree with you, however in order for us to try understand what went wrong let’s think from the patient’s perspective. I think with those types of patients, they would rather be over treated than under. Even if the MRI finds something that’s not clinically significant, it in a sense let’s their mind be at ease because it tells them whether something is there or not. I think from his perspective he would rather know about anything than be uncertain as something like this can actually lead to anxiety. How can you prove to me that this isn’t an extreme early sign of cancer or other pathological disease just based on your word as a doctor? On another note, I personally studying radiography would totally agree with your advice and not have the MRI.

    • VAIO294 says:

      BINGO!!! — *_”in order for us to try understand what went wrong let’s think from the patient’s perspective. I think with those types of patients, they would rather be over treated than under. *Even if the MRI finds something that’s not clinically significant, it in a sense let’s their mind be at ease because it tells them whether something is there or not. I think from his perspective he would rather know about anything than be uncertain as something like this can actually lead to anxiety. How can you prove to me that this isn’t an extreme early sign of cancer or other pathological disease just based on your word as a doctor?”_*

    • Breanna Bailey says:

      That’s true, but I have a grandmother like that who would ask for a big test to be done, the doctor would not find anything wrong, they would recommend therapy, and she wouldn’t believe them and she’d say they don’t know what they were talking about. So it’s really the mindset of, “I think I know what’s wrong with me and if my doctor doesn’t agree, then they’re wrong.”

  19. ChickenNoodleSoup says:

    Yes exactly, I have that type of personality, and your demeanor might seem disingenuous to people like me who have a hard time trusting people.

  20. Jeremy Bowling says:

    Great video with a great message. Thank you for sharing.

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