Interviewer: How often is it that just by listening and just by taking more time with the patient and really being a detective and figuring stuff out that you are able to solve their problems?
Sarim Mir: Yes. I saw this patient a few weeks ago, he’s 35 years old, and he’s a teacher. He came to us after he had been to see his family doctor. He was told that he had cluster headaches, and he had intense pain in the eyes. We were talking to him, and he didn’t have any headaches in the past, this had begun all of a sudden. While I was talking to him, I saw on his forehead he had a mark on the skin, like a tiny little spot. He also had some redness on his eyelid. I told him that there’s a possibility it could be the beginning of shingles or herpes zoster in the eye. If that’s the case then it could be really catastrophic.
Patients May Have Preconceived Notions Regarding their Diagnoses
The person was so much convinced that he had cluster headaches, I had to argue with him. He said, I have every sign of cluster headaches, I talked to my family doctor, and I read on the Internet also. The other thing is, this person had a high-deductible insurance plan, so I told him, I think you have shingles, but in order to confirm that, we have to send you to an ophthalmologist, they will examine your eye. They have an instrument, they can take a look at the inside of the eye and then they can confirm. After I argued with him for 15 minutes, when I was there with him the office was packed, there were patients outside. But I said, this 35 year old, he may go blind in the eye and I can’t let that happen.
A Medical Specialist Can Remedy the Adverse Effects of an Illness with A Timely Cure
So we called the ophthalmologist, we put the patient on the prescription for shingles or herpes zoster of the eye. We sent him the same day. We told the ophthalmologist team and they saw him and we then confirmed that. Within 2 or 3 days he had full-blown shingles. He had shingles on the forehead but because we had put him on the anti-viral at that time, we started the treatment early, his vision was saved. Then we saw him back at the office, he was so very thankful.
A Patient Often Has to get Medical Tests Pre-Authorized by Insurance Companies
There are other things we deal with, these days what’s happening is, people have bad insurance. So the insurance has a deductible and if you have to order any test on them, you have to get the test pre-authorized. So your staff has to be on the phone with the patient. So if the patient has to have an MRI done, and you think it’s important, we will take it upon us to get the test pre-authorized. What we believe in, if the patient comes to us, it’s our responsibility to do our best for the patient, to give him the best treatment.
Sometimes Treating a Patient Can take its Toll on the Doctor and the Medical Staff
Sometimes because we have to spend so much time, it is like a financial loss, because it takes your time, it takes the staff’s time, we believe that we have to do what’s best for the patient. What happens is that there are some patients who take up extra time, but there are some others who you can see quickly. Those patients have simple problems. Just because the patient’s insurance is hard, it is difficult to get tests approved, we still get them done.
A Medical Specialist Acts in the Best Interests of the Patient Regardless of Rigid Insurance Policies
Anybody who needs to have any type of testing done, and the same thing with prescription also, there are so many barriers now, some drugs, you have to get them pre-authorized also, and they take staff time also, but if we believe somebody has to be on a particular prescription, we will take our time. Other thing I told you about, this particular patient. If we know that he has to be seen by another specialist, because of some insurances which are difficult, we have a few other doctors who participate with them. We will find the right specialist for the patient.