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getting consults from two physicians within the same practice

anjuanaanjuan Posts: 236
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had thought I had decided on a surgeon for my fusion. However, I read an article about a hopsital in my city that was focused soley on orthopedic and neurological issues and was rated #1 in the state by Health Grades for spinal surgery. I researched and I really liked the concept that this was all they did. So, I chose one of the physicians based off their bios and made an appointment which I had today. I found out during the appointment that this physician is only two months outside of his fellowship and has only done 150 of these surgeries. That is just too green for me. (Plus he had a terrible bedside manner.)

So, one of my friends who is a health professional advised me to see another surgeon who operates in that hospital. Well, I called them up and they were going to make an appointment with another surgeon. When they saw in their computer that I had seen one of his coworkers they told me that they were going to have to ask the surgeon if he would see me. The receptionist said, "well, they have to work together." I couldn't believe it and asked if I had a right to choose my own physcian. They said yes, but they have to check. I am so frustrated. ~X( Has anyone ever encountered this before? I am trying to tell myself that if he says he won't see me that I was meant to go with the original surgeon that I had planned on.

(Oh, and by the way, I now have 3 surgeons who have recommended 3 different approaches for the two level fusion- PLIF, TLIF, and ALIF. ~X( )


  • I had an appointment with one surgeon and changed to a different doc in same practice. I mentioned this to him and he seemed to have no problem my going back to first one for another opinion.
    I've seen 4 different docs and 4 different opinions, before settling on a X-stop now 2 weeks ago. All the docs knew each other and had no problem with other opinions.
    I think sensitivity is more on the part of clerical staff.
  • I understand that it is fairly common for one physician in a partnership to refuse to take a partner's patients. My mother ran into this several years ago; she saw her physician's partner who was covering for him while he was on vacation. She really liked this doc so asked him if she could continue to see him. He said "no" because he could not take patients from his partner. I have since heard others say they have encountered this issue.
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  • I accually was referred from one doc to another in the same practice because he felt the other doc had more expertice in the area , and my doc now consults with the others in his office for their opinion ,but he also recomended I get a second opinion from another doc unaffiliated just so the workers comp people and me were comfortable with his diagnosis / recomemdatioms.
  • I think this is fairly common for partners in a practice not to take over each other's patients. They don't want to step on each others toes apparently. In my case I had researched NS's at my hospital, and the only two decent ones were partners, so I picked one and went with him. I thought about seeking a second opinion, but it would have meant going to a physician I had been warned never to go to.
    It does seem these multiple opinions sometimes end up making the decision more confusing, although I realize how important they can be. Good-luck, Sue
  • Where I live, it is very common for partners in the same practice to not take over another partner's patients. I think that it is almost an unwritten code.

    I did have a rather remarkable thing happen when I went for my first consultation with one of the best spine surgeons in Iowa. I was waiting in the exam room where my MRI's were on display. As the NS entered from the opposite side of the room, he immediately said "I see your problem, but I don't necessarily do that type of surgery. I am going to refer you to Dr. "X" who is right across the hallway." It just so happened that because of the flooding in Iowa, these two doctors had taken up temporary practices across the halls from each other. In fact, the first doctor's nurse guided us across the hallway, spoke to the second doctor's office help, and got us in to see him immediately so that we would not have to make a second two hour trip later in the week. I appreciated the first surgeon's honesty in referring me to the second NS, whom he felt was better at TLIF than he was, despite his stellar reputation. So in a matter of minutes, I had two opinions from two different practices!

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  • I think I would be upset, since you aren't actually his patient. You only went for a consult. Patients go to physicians for consults, to make sure they feel confident in the one they choose. It seems really unfair to me.

    I really hope that this is just a problem with communication with the staff, and not a policy of the practice.

    I hope that you get a surgeon and opinion that you feel confident in, and are happy with.
  • They just called me back and told me that the other physician wouldn't see me because I was the first physician's patient. I told her that I only went to get a consult and she said it doesn't matter. The reason that I went to this group is that they are the only group that operates at this highly rated hospital. I was so upset during the call that I started crying and told her to let them know that they lost a patient because the first surgeon had such a terrible bedside manner and he had only done 150 surgeries. They didn't seem to care.

    I am trying to tell myself that it is ok because before I found out about this hospital I was very happy with my surgeon (with a different hospital) that I was scheduled for a TLIF with on December 3. He is very experienced and has a wonderful bedside manner. I am just going to stick with him.
  • This isn't one hundred percent on topic, but I had my fusion scheduled for October 16, but reherniated in September. So, when I had an appt to come in and see the P.A. (they sent me the night I called to tell them what happened for a contrast MRI) and my doctor wasn't there that day. He asked me if I would be okay with another surgeon from the practice looking at my films, and if needed, operating on me. I told them that was fine. So the other surgeon looked at my films and said surgery needed to be done ASAP, but not necessarily that day, so I saw my doc a couple days later and had surgery that Friday. So they must all work well together if that all would have been okay with them. There are three surgeons there. My surgeon is the newest, but they are all partners. (Helped that the surgeon that looked at my films while my doctor was gone graduated first in his class and authored book chapters hehe... Who would be opposed to that? Hehe)
  • Anjuan,

    I am glad you found a surgeon you like and trust. I think that is more important than the hospital, providing it is an accredited hospital with good reputation. But you will spend only a short time at the hospital but will have a longer relationship with your surgeon, so it is necessary that you feel confidence in him.

    Good luck with your surgery,

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