Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Doctor vs. Doctor

I may have mentioned previously that I am unimpressed with the OB's here in Israel. I don't have a LOT of experience but I have been to 2 here. The first was in Ariel and he was a bit odd. I had been told that the 2 docs in Ariel in my health clinic were just not great. And been advised to go elsewhere. So I chose a doctor in Petach Tikvah based on a recommendation from someone who had a baby 3 weeks prior. I don't really know her well but hey, she just had a baby so the memory is fresh! I did not factor in that she is Israeli and is used to how things are done and patients are treated.
I'm not.
And I miss my doctor's from Detroit. A LOT!!!

I am not worried about the medical care here. I think the doctors are trained just as well and know what they are doing. The most important thing is the health of the baby and the mother, as it should be. And they make sure everyone is healthy.
But beyond that, it seems they just don't care. Like anywhere else, you will have better and worse ones in terms of bedside manner. But things here are just so much less personal. WAY less personal. At least in my small experiance so far. And I am assuming that if I had paid a lot of money and gone to a private doctor, I would get more personal care. Maybe the doctors in the health clinics just have too many patients and don't want to get too involved. But I am not talking about having my doctor over for a cup of tea. I just want a little concern....a little interest. Pregnancy is HARD! I feel like she should ask how I am feeling. Not just have me come in her office, do the ultrasound and say goodbye.
One of the strange things to me is that the doctor you see throughout your whole pregnancy is not the one who will deliver you or even be anywhere near you when it's time for the baby to come. Her job is done. (Although maybe she does a post-natal check-up?) You see the doc every 6 weeks (and I am not sure how often at the end of pregnancy) and then you register at the hospital where you want to deliver. When you go into labor, you head to that hospital and the midwife does your delivery. Or in my case, I have to schedule a C-section so I sign up, go in, and whoever is working, does my c-section. I will have NEVER met this person, have no idea how well they speak English, and have no comfort level with this doctor who is about to preform surgery on me and deliver my 3rd child. WEIRD!
I hate it.

I don't like my doctor. I have only met her once but I don't like her. And I think I realized why last night. Aside from having a strange visit with her (because of the lack of personal care and concern), she is impossible to reach. That's annoying. If I have questions, I feel like I don't have anyone to call. The nurses on the Maccabi medical line seemed more concerned when I called them in the middle of the night than the doctor herself.
Here's the story.
A couple weeks ago I woke up in the middle of the night and was having an issue. Unsure of what to do and no idea who to call, I first called my American doctors. Not that they could do anything but just so I would know whether I have to be concerned and need to go to the ER or if I could wait and see a doctor in the morning. They were already closed so I called the 700 number for Maccabi and told them I am having a problem and have no idea if/how to reach my doctor to ask her and am not sure what to do. They transferred me to their 24 hour nurses line. I spoke to the nurse and explained the problem and she told me that I need to go to the hospital to get checked out. I could take a taxi because it wasn't a huge emergency but I need to take care of it and can't wait until morning.
Well, apparently it is very difficult to get a taxi in the middle of the night in Ariel. After more than an hour of trying to reach one, and with the help of the nurse at the 24 hour line, we ended up taking an ambulance.
Long story short, we spent about 10 hours at the hospital and thank G-d, the baby was ok and I was ok. They were a little concerned about preterm labor but sent me home because there were no other indications of labor, told me to contact my doctor because maybe she would want to check me out, and told me to REST.
I called my doctor's office and spoke to the receptionist who told me to fax over the paperwork from the hospital, she would give it to the doctor, and the doc would call me. A friend of ours faxed over the paperwork but I didn't hear anything from them. A few days later I had to go into a different Maccabi office for an ultrasound and had forgotten the referral so I had to call the doc to get that faxed over to us. I asked if she had received my fax and she told me no. So we had our friend fax it over again. Still didn't hear from her. The next time I called, there was a message saying the doctor was on vacation and would be back next week (on a Tuesday). I waited till the Tuesday but there was no answer when I called. So I called back on Wednesday. But the doctor doesn't work on Wednesday. So I tried again on Thursday. Spoke to the receptionist again who said she didn't see the fax anywhere but if the hospital said I am fine, then I will just get checked by the doctor the next time I came in. Coincidently, I had an appointment the following week so she said just bring the paperwork from the hospital then and show it to the doc. But at this point it didn't really matter because it had already been a few weeks since the incident.

Ya know what I don't like? Where the heck is my doctor?????? I feel like if this had happened in the States and I called my doctor's office and told them I had been in the hospital, they would not only call me to check on me and talk to me but they would also want me to come in so THEY could check me out.
I don't understand how my doctor can hear that one of her patients was in the hospital and not show any concern. What IS that about??
I'm kind of glad that she won't be delivering my baby.

So, that's my complaint. :) I'll let you know how things go on Wednesday. Wish me luck!

8 comments:

concernedjewgirl said...

good luck!

AP said...

oyoyoy...

[note to self: do not move to foreign country while pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant, or recently having been pregnant any time in the last decade or so.]

seriously, that just sucks. on top of all the other major life adjustments, to have to worry about this! :( good luck and all i can say is that i hope it becomes easier for you. the next time around this'll all be old hat, just think of it that way!

GAMZu said...

I'm sorry you are struggling with this. That sounds so unprofessional. Do you have any Americans there who can give you good doctor recommendations? Or you can post on Imamother and I'm sure people will be able to suggest someone.

Olah Chadasha said...

That is just awful. In that sense, maybe it's better my first pregnancy was in Israel and not in the states b/c I have nothing to compare my experience to. Do you meet with a nurse as well when you go for a check-up?

Do you think you might consider changing providers? I only suggest that b/c I totally get where you're coming from b/c I felt the same way with my drs, but with Clalit, they give you a personal nurse that takes the bulk care and checkups for you. They're always available if you have any issues also. Like I mentioned on a previous report, I saw the nurse more often and for a longer period of time than any dr. I saw.

That's why the dr only spent about 5 minutes with me during an appointment and didn't really try to create a rapport with me. I had a personal nurse who cared and would take all the time in the world to get to know me. She gave me her personal cell phone number in case I had any questions that needed answering right away. Unlike any of the doctors, she actually knew my name and knew all my medical facts without having to look in my book.

If I didn't have her, I think I would have felt exactly how you're feeling now. It might be something to take into consideration.
-OC

Just Shu said...

if only we could afford to fly back and forth for all your doctor appointments

josh said...

I also like the 24 hour call centre service at Macabbi. I admit that I am surprised that they have been quite sincere everytime we call them.

Ditto on the doctors here. Baruch Hashem I rarely have to see them, but I also get the feeling that mine is somewhat apathetic most of the time, though I do see some sincere interactions between him and other patients (I suppose there are regulars that show up each week) and frankly, I am thankful I only see him once a year or two.
We have cheap and very accessible health care here, so I suppose the trade off is the impersonal service. The Docs here need to be part-time at a kupah in order to build experience and connections, the other part-time they do it is in private practice where the big money is (and smiles, and probably a secretary that remembers you).

The maternity clinics at the hospital are assembly lines, don't look for personal service there either. My sister in law in France got a private clinic with her own bedroom with extended stay, etc... here the rooms are three or four women, and if there is a heavy day, you get the hallway until the previous batch of women are kicked out :-) She's now also expecting her first Israeli kid, boy she's in for a surprise.

A not so recent money making venture of the hospitals is the maternity hotel. For several hundred sheks (I think 1000+ NIS), you get your own hotel room, obviously with a much more relaxed and pampered senior nurse.

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