620 Old West Central Street, Franklin, MA 02038 • 508-528-6100 • www.ProPTinc.com
AView From the Other Side From Practitioner to Parent
I talk often in this newsletter about how the traditional medical industry is not set up to serve patients. It involves dealing with confusing bureaucracy, navigating the complexities of medical insurance, and hoping you end up with a provider you can trust. Professional Physical Therapy stands in opposition to this broken system. We strive to put patients first at all times by giving them recovery options and providing an experience that treats people, not just their injuries. That’s exactly the situation my daughter, Ashley, was in recently when she tore ligaments and fractured bones in her knee. It was a severe injury, the kind for which a more conservative approach simply wasn’t an option. Ashley’s a physical therapist assistant — the apple not falling far from the tree, as it were — so she has a pretty robust understanding of the medical industry. Even with our combined experience, Ashley still had to deal with all the problems a normal patient does. “The surgeon spent maybe five minutes with her and delegated the rest of the appointment to nurses. Needless to say, she didn’t leave beaming with confidence.” But sometimes you can’t avoid surgery after a major injury. Ashley lives in North Carolina, and her first appointment was with the surgeon recommended by her insurance provider. Her experience was, to put it mildly, less than amazing. The nurse expressed amazement as to why she’d waited so long to get an appointment (she couldn’t figure out that an injury that happened in 2018 occurred only weeks ago, not over a year ago). The surgeon spent maybe five minutes with her and delegated the rest of the appointment to nurses. Needless to say, Ashley didn’t leave beaming with confidence. Does that sound familiar to you? Sadly, it’s an all too common experience. Ashley felt slighted and invisible, which isn’t the rapport you want to have with somebody who will be cutting you open. If you end up in a similar situation, I urge you to seek a second opinion. Even if you believe a certain doctor’s diagnosis to be correct, you shouldn’t feel bad about seeking alternatives. A surgery is a major life event, and you want to go into it feeling as secure as you possibly can. That won’t happen if you don’t feel comfortable with the surgeon.
As a parent — and a medical professional — I was infuriated with the lack of care the initial surgeon showed Ashley. A moment later I realized that so many of our patients have dealt with the exact same thing. In fact, almost anyone who has had to deal extensively with medical care can share a story like this one. That’s a shame, but it also reminds me why I founded Professional Physical Therapy in the first place. When you have to deal with the medical establishment, you’re quickly reminded why it is a constant source of strife in this country. Even when you know what to expect, it’s hard to avoid interactions that leave a bad taste in your mouth. Eventually, though, Ashley found a surgeon who put her at ease. However, the question remains the same as ever: Why does it have to be so hard?
– Dr. Stacey Raybuck Schatz
Professional Physical Therapy | 508-528-6100 • 1
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