No exam necessary – I can tell by looking at you.

Melissa writes:
That’s what I was told today when I went to see a surgeon for a follow-up to an emergency room visit I made last week because of a gallbladder attack.

The ER people were great. Within an hour of getting there, I had an x-ray and ultrasound done, blood and urine samples taken for testing, and was given pain and anti-nausea medication. After everything was looked at, I was told I have gallstones and an infection in my gallbladder, and that the likely outcome was having it removed. I was given prescriptions for two antibiotics and a painkiller, and sent home with a referral to a surgeon to discuss my options.

I called the surgeon when I got home and made the appointment. Today was the appointment … from hell.

The first red flag should have been when I pulled up and saw advertisements for his Botox and laser treatments. What sort of surgeon needs to make $$$ with that stuff? I get in the office, and am sent to the exam room. There is no examination. No one takes my pulse, temperature, or blood pressure, or looks in my ears, eyes, and throat.

The doctor walks in and tells me nonchalantly that he has not gotten my records from the hospital. He pooh-poohs the diagnosis of an infection, saying “they” always give antibiotics to gallbladder patients. He asks if I’ve ever had problems with my gallbladder before, and I tell him that I have. He asks me what I want to have done about my gallbladder. I reply that whatever needs to be done to keep me from experiencing another attack and getting another infection is what I want.

He then proceeds to tell me that he doesn’t think I need my gallbladder removed. He asked me if I would be willing to consider weight-loss surgery. I replied that it would take a lot of information to get me to consider it. He told me that my gallbladder problems are caused by my weight, and that I have a fatty liver. When I asked how he knew that without my medical records and without examining me, he said he could tell by looking at me. I told him I expected to be treated with medical care that is based on science and evidence, and he insisted that his diagnosing me with just his eyes was evidence-based medicine. At that point, I guess he realized he didn’t have a sucker or doormat sitting in the exam room with him, and suggested that maybe he wasn’t the doctor for me. I agreed heartily, and left. At least I got my co-pay back, and kept my spine.

Complaints are being made to the hospital, insurance company, and state medical board. “I can tell by looking at you” is not an acceptable level of care when a patient comes to you in a potential crisis.

Leave a comment


  1. Wow! I don’t have the words to form a coherent response to that. I’m so stunned that this doctor thought that “I can tell by looking at you” was an acceptable form of diagnosis. And you know there are other patients who’ve been fed that line of BS and accepted it. Good for you for standing up to him like you did and for getting your co-pay back. I hope you find a doctor that actually offers medical care based on examining your medical history.

  2. Weight loss surgery? When losing weight very quickly is a risk factor for gallstones? Sigh.

  3. Reblogged this on Sly Fawkes and commented:
    Well, what a genius! He doesn’t even need blood tests or CAT scans of any of that mumbo jumbo. He can tell with his genius-like super-scanning-vision exactly what’s going on with a person.
    Actually, this asshat should have his license revoked.


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