“Hello! And again!” I happily greeted this patient sitting on my clinic chair. He smiled back , albeit sheepishly and said “Sorry doc!” . “Don’t mention it, it is your right by the way”.
I saw this patient about 2 months prior to this consult in one of my other clinic in another institution. He consulted me for a certain orthopedic problem, examined him, ordered the needed diagnostic procedures and appraised him carefully of my treatment recommendations. This including financial considerations and proximity of institutions where we can do the necessary procedures. Then I lost him to follow up.
Mr. X resurfaced 2 weeks after, in my other clinic, in another institution thinking he was seeing another surgeon. He was surprised as I am that we met for the second time in another clinic and in another institution. I don’t know if he was just plainly uninformed or he wasn’t very particular physician names, but I’m pretty sure my name was clearly printed on this clinic door. The guy was surgeon shopping and is surprised that so far, he window shopped the same surgeon in two different institution – me and myself.
That aside, I went on with my routine patient consult gave the same treatment recommendations as before. His surgical problems needed the same surgical treatment. Nothing changed. Went he stepped out of my clinic door, I had this inkling I won’t be seeing this patient again. Indeed, I lost him to follow up. Again!
Until this very moment, when he showed up (again) in one of my other clinic in another institution different from his previous consults with me. I greeted him “Hello, …again!” …He went pale. So the rest of the story goes.
Just how he ‘window shopped for the same surgeon, three times, without him knowing” is mind boggling. But he obviously wasn’t very particular with names. He was shopping for the “surgeon” who will give him the treatment he liked. It’s unfortunate he ended up with the same specialist three times, in the process.
In a small city where “specialists” is as scarce as physician, “surgeon-shopping” may just be actually “healthcare facility shopping’. So patients, pay particular attention to your physicians names…