The Appointment with Doctor Perv | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

The Appointment with Doctor Perv

gardenI wish this RA really were a lie.

  • What kind of mother would fake not being able to put on her child’s socks?
  • What kind of mother would make her children cook dinner, wash the dishes and clean the house so she could live out her dream of feigning illness?

Certainly not the same mother who carried the heavy burden working 18 hour days for 20 years to care for her family, her neighbors, and her church.

The beginning

The sign in the waiting room said, “Dr. __ does not carry liability insurance.” The walls were peeling. The posters were faded. The floor was dirty. There were not computers or modern equipment to be seen.

After 45 minutes, the single employee told me to leave my 2 adult daughters in the waiting room because, “We won’t bite you.” Katie Beth said we’d prefer to stay together. They eventually gave in.

After Doctor Space Heater, I’d never see a doctor alone again. What if someone had not been with me that day? I don’t think any woman should be alone for an appointment. Twenty minutes later, he came in and sat down.

The middle

Very briefly, I described my 5 years with RA, listing the treatments I’d tried, my symptoms, drug allergies, and lab scores.

The rheumatologist said that by looking at me he can tell I do not have “any form of arthritis.” He pulled and tugged at numerous joints producing loud cracking sounds that even Mary Khris could hear (she wears powerful digital hearing aids). I asked Katie Beth, “Did you hear that?” She said, “Yes!” And he looked at her and said, “No!”

He pulled and twisted my right fingers, wrist, and arm and both legs forcefully. I refused to wince. All of my joints are tender to touch, but that wrist has not hurt this bad for months.

He said “The only medications that you need are Advil and Tramadol. I’ll write you a prescription for Tramadol.” I said, “What does that do?” He said, “Makes your pain go away.” I asked, “Does it treat the problem though?” He said, “YES!”

The end

He said “Your joints do not hurt. You just need to relax.” He placed his hands in an inappropriate place and held them there for several seconds. When I moved away, he said to Katie Beth, “Is she always like this?” Katie Beth answered, “Only because you are incredibly rude. Let’s get out of here.”

It took a couple of minutes to get out of there. He kept insisting that I let him see my spine and asking whether I had an eating disorder. I told him that I had no idea why he was behaving this way, but we could not stay. His only employee, his wife, was staring through the doorway with a look of disbelief. I wonder how many times she’s seen this.

We give doctors a screen name on this site to protect them and us from whatever we might need to be protected from. We protect the innocent and the guilty. This one time, I wanted to print his name. I won’t do that today. Instead I’ll make a formal complaint to the state department of health. If that information becomes public, I’ll provide my readers with a link to that information.

For now, he’s Doctor Perv.

The future

We’ll move on, my girls and I. They’ll never go to a doctor alone.

Eventually, I will go to another rheumatologist. I admit it’s very hard to keep encouraging patients to seek care when the majority of the letters I receive tell negative stories of how they are treated. But we’ll continue to celebrate and promote good doctors and advances in rheumatological care. One project we’ve begun is a Recommended Doctors List to be published on the new Rheumatoid Patient Foundation website. If you know a good rheumatologist, please send us the name and contact info. (For now, you can also leave that information here as a comment on this post. The new email for the RPF will be up soon.)

Tonight I received an email with VERY good news for the RPF. We received a grant that we had applied for to help finance some initial programs. So far, I’ve spent my own money and the blog’s money to cover expenses for the RPF. This is another important step toward seeing our goals become reality. And it confirms to me again that we are going through doors that God is opening. We will not give up.

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Kelly O'Neill

Kelly O'Neill (formerly Kelly Young) has worked about 12 years as an advocate helping patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the author of the best-selling book Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked: 10 Dangers of Rheumatoid Disease. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Through her writing and speaking, she builds a more accurate awareness of rheumatoid disease (RD) aka rheumatoid arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creates ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and brings recognition and visibility to the RA patient journey. In addition to RA Warrior, she writes periodically for newsletters, magazines, and websites. There are over 60,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook page. You can also connect with Kelly on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is a mother of five, longtime home-schooler, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. She has lived over fourteen years with unrelenting RD. See also https:/

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144 thoughts on “The Appointment with Doctor Perv

  • January 15, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Hello, and thank you for this wonderful resource of a website that you have created for RA patients. 🙂

    I’m so sorry that you had to experience such disgusting behavior. I’m am very glad that you had others with you to help get you out of that situation quickly, and that you took the right steps afterward to report the Doctor in question.

    I myself am an RN, with experience in Nurosurgical Nursing, Neurological Nursing, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing. I honestly & truly do take my job as being the Patient’s Advocate in all things relating to their care and well-being seriously. As you can probably guess, I have treated Patients with RA in all three specialties. Good resources regarding RA are difficult to come by, as many of the ones that are offered to patients in the forms of printed pamphlets, booklets, etc. often seem quite incomplete, and don’t give patients any good info to answer the question of, “Okay, I have RA… What do I do now?!” Your website is now on my list of “check this out” sites that I recommend to patients. My heartfelt thanks to you for helping me to help my patients. .< ) findings as read in professional, peer-reviewed journals, and they either look at you with a blank stare, or dismiss you because, as a lay-person, you couldn't POSSIBLY know about something that (s)he doesn't… ), or because they engage in criminal conduct like, but not limited to, what you have described in this post, or because of any other number of reasons. Being a Doctor of Medicine (or any other health-care professional) is so much more than just earning a degree, though too many fail to realize this, and rest on the laurels conferred to them along with those nifty couple of letters that they get to scribble after their names. The advice to report bad Doctors to relevant authorities & organizations is so important, as it is a step that most people skip over in their health-care journey.

    They believe that they are powerless, because, who is going to believe a patient over a Doctor, right?


    IMPORTANT NOTE: I'm *not* sharing this because I have a vendetta against Doctors. In fact, the complete opposite is true; I want to work with really great Doctors, and provide the best care for my patients that is possible. I, as a patient, also want the best care from my healthcare providors. In order to achieve this, there needs to be this magical little thing called ACCOUNTABILITY. We simply must take it upon ourselves to be responsible consumers (because yes, this IS a business transaction), and expect the best from the professionals that we hire to provide a service to us. Would you accept your car back from a mechanic if the engine was only partially fixed, while paying for a full repair? I didn't think so.

    Keep in mind that one word: ACCOUNTABILITY

    For a myriad of reasons, patient input has become extremely important to a variety of entities that oversee and interact with the medical community. I won't lie; most of it boils down to the all-mighty dollar, but for once, this works in the Patient's/Consumer's favor. Complaints are no longer simply moved to the "circular file"; they are taken seriously. They can, and do, have an effect on everything from laws, policies, licensing, endorsing, payment from insurance providers to the practitioner in question, etc.

    Pro Tip: Call your medical insurance provider to see if any complaints have been lodged against a practitioner before you decide to make an appointment. I skipped this step about 10 years ago, and ended up with a horrendous experience with a dermatologist. When I called my insurance company afterward, they told me that they had received numerous recent complaints about that particular Doctor, and in addition to forwarding the info to the appropriate authorities, they were initiating the process to terminate their business relationship with that Dermatologist. In other words, the Doctor was so bad, the insurance company was kicking that Doc off of their "participating provider" list, and was not going to pay for several visits (most likely, including mine) because the Doctor was not providing an adequate and accepted level of care, per their contract.


    If a Doctor is rude, inconsiderate, engages in questionable or illegal actions, or anything that just doesn't feel right to you, REPORT THEM!!! Heck, in my state, a Doctor is LEGALLY OBLIGATED to answer all questions relating to your reasons for seeing the Doctor to the PATIENT'S satisfaction; no Doctor is going to run out of the exam-room or hospital-room door on me until *I* determine that the visit is over. Period. That's what they get paid to do, and it is their legal & ethical obligation as medical professionals to provide that level of care. I'm not just another chart to be filled out, and neither is anyone who may be reading this. I went in to my career knowing that the hours were long, that I would often miss breaks, and sometimes have to stay late to complete my work. If they don't want to do the work that they signed up for, then they should find another job. It's as simple as that. The PATIENT is ALWAYS the number one priority, no matter what.

    More than likely, you aren't the only patient that they have treated in that manner. If it's illegal activity, contact the police as soon as possible. Even if you THINK something MIGHT be illegal, contact the police, and let them decide. Better to report it, and be wrong, than not to report it at all. Even if something that the Patient finds unsettling isn't necessarily illegal, it still doesn't make it right. In both circumstances, contact any and all relevant persons, hospitals, state, federal, etc. to report the problem. For me, this usually includes, at the very least, a letter to the Doctor in question, the head of the hospital or group practice (if the Doctor is practicing in one of those settings), the head of their department if it is a hospital, my medical insurance company (IMPORTANT: this can include your workers compensation carrier, your no-fault carrier, Medicare, Medicaid, and/or any other entity that may be involved in paying for your medical care for that appointment, treatment, or other service), the state entity responsible for granting licensure to practice medicine (here, it Is called the Office of Professions), any relevant professional entities (the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, etc. Pro Tip: check the Doctor's website for information about what professional organizations that (s)he belongs to if you missed it during your appointment).

    It is usually easiest to just draft one letter, and just change the heading & introduction to suit the recipient. Keep a copy of each letter sent, and note the date that it was sent. You can call each entity to follow up on your complaint, and see what is being done. Just be fair, and realize that many of the problems won't be addressed overnight. They are "triaged" much like patients in a Hospital's Emergency Room; the most severe cases are handled first.

    You would be surprised at what can happen from one letter. 😉

    Sorry for the long post, but after reading about what happened to you with this visit, as well as some of your others, I felt the need to write this from both a professional and personal standpoint. I hope that anyone who was kind enough to suffer through it can take away a bit of knowledge & self-empowerment. Also, to anyone who may be reading this, and is a Registered Nurse, PLEASE remember that your job is to be your Patients' Advocate!! Don't fall in to that false sense of inferiority that some Doctors try to push on to us, and don't be afraid to fight for what you feel is best for you Patients. We are both their defensive and offensive team in terms of tackling the giant that is the health-delivery system!!

    Best wishes for everyone in their quests to attain optimum health and wellness!

    • January 15, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      Dear Kelly,

      This is Kate that wrote the above, long post. For some reason, part of the middle was truncated, and it now doesn’t make much sense. Please just delete it, and if you wish to contact me, please feel free to email me. I’m sorry that the post became a mess.

      Best wishes,

    • January 15, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      Thank you Kate. I would hope that you can pass on your wisdom to other professionals as well as patients!

  • January 15, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Sorry… Second note! (it’s been a long day….). If you want to salvage any part of what I wrote, or use it on your website at all, please feel free to. I don’t claim copyright on any of it. If you think that it will help someone, use it.
    Thanks again.

    • January 15, 2013 at 10:50 pm

      I think it’s fine Kate. Accidents & typos happen – even in my published pages! What you shared is valuable where it is unless it bothers you.

  • August 9, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Your post is a little too familiar. I had been seeing a rheumatologist at a rather large clinic for many months for pains in my fingers and wrists. No x-rays or imaging tests ordered, she just kept saying it’s osteoarthritis. Blood work was normal and has always been so. Finally, because RA runs in my family, she decided to do an MRI. I had bone erosions already. Then she said I had mild RA which contradicted everything I had read. By the time there are erosions, things are pretty advanced. She left the clinic. I saw another doctor. He made me feel like a malingerer. He told me there was nothing wrong with me other than maybe fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel syndrome. He was so rude. I reported him. I never do that. I found a different rheumatologist away from that clinic. She has been awesome and so supportive. She did a repeat MRI and the erosions were still there. She was very aggressive with my treatment. When I had my carpal tunnel surgery shortly after I started going to this new doctor, the orthopedic surgeon said what he found during surgery were signs of “classic RA”. I still hurt today. More joints are involved now including some larger joints and my feet. I have unrelenting flares that sometimes only respond to cortisone but at least I know this doctor takes me seriously and is trying her best to help me. Keep looking till you find the right doctor. Don’t put up with bull.

  • October 13, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    I’m late to this site. It’s 2016 and I’m wondering what the heck?!!!!!
    Did he ever get in trouble?

    • October 13, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      No he did not as far as I know. After we looked into options, we saw he had more rights than we did. Both of my adult daughters were present and it probably is something we’ll never forget. He was a member of the American College of Rheumatology in good standing, which just added to the sting.

  • October 13, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Whatever happened to him?

  • December 22, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    I have a wonderful rheumatologist! I have been to doctors like you described above, I have walked out!
    Michael Jaworski
    Chester County rheumatology
    West Chester, Pa. 19380
    He is fabulous! There are good doctors that care! Keep looking!


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