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The Doctor or the Physician's Assistant

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Pain Management
Does anyone see their PM’s physician’s assistant instead of their PM? I had made a request to change my break thru med and the nurse called back and told me that I would need to make an appointment to make a medication change. In the past, I have not had to do this but I went ahead and they set my appointment up with my PM’s physician’s assistant instead of the doctor. When I went to the appointment yesterday, it was a totally different experience. He was very non-personal and didn’t allow me to talk a whole lot unless he asked me a specific question.

As I have stated in another post, he set me up for a Radio Frequency Ablation appointment even after I tried to tell him that it was my understanding that this would not be done unless we had a positive reaction to the facet injection. He pretty much gave me the hand and said that is not what the doctor wants to do. I then changed the subject and addressed the reason that I was there (to change my break thru medication.) I told him that the Norco 10/325s four times a day was no longer having any affect and that historically after 4 to 5 months, my body gets used to the Norco and a change needs to be made. He told me that the only two options that I had was instant release morphine or the Norco. I told him that I had been on the instant release morphine before and it worked but it made me extremely drowsy during the day. His response was that a lot of medications can make you drowsy and it was something I would just have to deal with.

I ended up deciding to switch to the instant release morphine just to get some relief during those peak pain periods during the day but I wasn’t happy with his whole demeanor about it. On the way to the appointment desk, I asked him how long he had been with the doctor and he said that he had started back in September. He got very defensive at this point because he proceeded to tell me all of his credentials and experience. I told him that I wasn’t questioning his ability but was just curious because I had never seen him before.

After they scheduled my RFA appointment, they set me up with a post procedure follow-up with the physician’s assistant again. I am not sure why they have all of a sudden decided to switch me from seeing the PM doctor to now seeing his physician’s assistant. Maybe I have just over reacted since I have been so used to seeing the actual doctor and this time I didn’t but I just didn’t feel as comfortable with the PA.

When I was living in Alaska and had my surgery done, I had a PM and had seen both the doctor and his PA. So this isn’t the first time I have seen a PA but I just don’t feel as reassured when I walk out of the doctor’s office like I do when I see the doctor himself.

Sorry this has rambled on so long but I was just wondering if anyone else had an experience like this and what/how they felt or dealt with it.




  • At first, I was leery... I mean, my insurance is being charged for a PHYSICIAN CONSULT, not an assistant's opinion... But, after a while I warmed up to the idea. I guess that is because I like the one at my doc's office. I believe I would most likely have a difficult time with the whole concept had we not gotten off on the right foot. I do NOT like the assistant at my mother's doctor's office. She (the PA) is very full of herself and apparently does not seem to comprehend pain and its effect on a person...

    It is Standard Procedure at my doc's office that I HAVE to see the doctor at least every 3 months.

    Best of luck with future appointments.


  • The guy who does all the SCS programming and post surgical followup is a PA. I have less trouble dealing with him than my actual PM. English is his second language but once I got past figuring out he is just communicating in a different word order and placing emphasis on some words wrong he does pretty well.

    I don't actually have a warm fuzzy feeling from either one though! Keep in mind a lot of PM people seem to be emotionaly shut down. I think they may be afraid to know or like us as it would hurt to much not being able to help so many people that hurt.

    I can't even get narcotic pain meds at my PM. It is not a service they offer. I had to go to my PCP and wait for him to shuffle through information trying to figure out how to help me. That really sucked! I am 6 days off of Norco! 3 days off Neurontin! I can see and think again! So glad to have gotten this far. Time will tell, but I hope to be OK with nothing more than the SCS. The big test will be going back to work on Monday!
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