Our patient along with her husband consulted for the first time in PGH with the complaint of months of severe RLQ pain radiating to the back. It took an hour and a half interviewing them because there were so many details — they’ve already went to so many doctors and already did so many diagnostic tests. She already had CT scans, Ultrasounds, CBCs, and several urinalyses and all were normal. When we were done with our history and physical exam, our consultant did his own physical exam that lasted 5 minutes and concluded that she has Sciatic Nerve Impingement probably secondary to a Lumbar Herniation.
Our patient is a housewife and her husband is a tricycle driver. They’ve sought help from doctors whose incompetence made them spend for so many unnecessary tests when a simple physical exam done by a single good doctor would have clinched the diagnosis. It moved me when I saw the couple smiling when the doctor explained to them her condition. But what moved me even more was when our patient smiled and said in a soft voice that they now have no more money for treatment. Money doesn’t come easy for people like them and it frustrates me that they had to encounter a line-up of crappy doctors when there really should be no such thing as a crappy doctor.