Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Passing the Buck

Good Wednesday to you,

Hope things are going well for you. Things are pretty busy here. I have been reading the same book for about a month. Every time I get back to it, I have forgotten everything I have read. Netflix is making money off of me like crazy. I get two movies in and they sit there on the TV cabinet for a couple of weeks. I finished watching a movie on Sunday. The problem is that I started it the previous Monday. Life is crazy.

It has rained a lot lately, so baseball games got cancelled and rescheduled. This is the reschedule week. We have three baseball games, a football game, and two piano practices. My marathon (NYC) is in two weeks, which means I am not able to slack much on my runs. I went to a game yesterday, then straight to my Seattle Study Club meeting, got home at 9 and then went out for a run. AND let’s not forget that the Gators are on fire! There is a lot of buzz around these parts, so I am going to take the two boys to the game on Saturday (after a 16 mile run). My daughter told me that her birthday is only eight days away. I said, “Oh yeah!” But I knew good and well that I had forgotten this very important date.

And if you think this is not enough, next Saturday I get on a plane to speak in New York City. I fly in on Saturday to speak on Sunday morning. I will be home by 6 p.m. on Sunday night. I will work for four days before I get on another plane to go back to New York to run the marathon. Man, I love my crazy life.

Okay, let’s not have this be all about me (as much as I like that). I want to talk to you about warranties. I have a specialist in town that I really like. She does very good work and she gets my patients in right away. She claims is that if she works on a tooth, she takes responsibility for it. A guarantee, per se. I like that. She is a specialist who takes responsibility for her work.

I do this. I have an unwritten guarantee on all of my work. We have spoken about this in the past. If a filling is less than five years old and it fails, I will repair it or replace it at no cost. If a crown is less than, say, eight years old, the same rule applies. I am a consumer and a small business owner, and I try to run my practice the way I would want to be treated.

I sent a patient who was hurting and swollen to this specialist. To her credit, she saw my patient right away. I think there were some antibiotics at first and then they rescheduled for a procedure (I am being very vague on purpose because I have been told in the past to watch my rhetoric). The procedure was tough for the patient but she was relieved to be out of excruciating pain. But after the completion of the procedure, she never was without pain and couldn't bite on the tooth. She went back to talk to the specialist and discuss her pain. She was told that everything looked good and left with a $100 exam bill. The patient came back to me and told me that she hasn't been able to chew on this tooth ever since the procedure. It has been about a year. WHAT?

I know this specialist and she claims that she won't do anything that won't succeed. I called and left a message that was never returned. When I saw the patient on the schedule again and realized that the issue wasn't resolved, and emailed the specialist. This email also went unanswered. Sound fishy? I thought so too.

I called again and finally got the office manager on the phone. When I call to talk to the doctor and the office manager gets on the phone, I feel like the doctor is blowing me off. She is telling Sally to talk to me because she doesn’t want to.

Look, we all have teeth like this. We have all worked on teeth and thought we did an awesome job, only to find out that the tooth still hurts. We all do fillings that are shallow that somehow hurt people so much so that they need to have a root canal. We all have teeth that fail that we don't know why. So why is talking to another dentist that knows failure such a big deal? I didn’t think it was her fault; I thought maybe the tooth was cracked.

I didn't want to take the tooth out without consulting her first. But I get to talk to her office manager. She told me that she has everything on this tooth documented and that on such and such date they told the patient that they didn't find anything wrong with the tooth. They referred her to a facial pain specialist and that they were happy to make her new patient appointment ($650) with this doctor, but the patient declined.

This dentist is not taking any responsibility for this person’s continued pain or for punting her. They are claiming it is not the tooth at all and classifying her as a facial pain patient. Listen, I refer to this specialist and I think this guy is the smartest dude there is in town, but this thing is starting to look and smell and feel like a duck.

If it were my patient that was in pain, I would take responsibility for this tooth. I would have an arrangement with the other doctor that he/she would see my patients and if they thought there was something that I missed, their exam is on me.

What do you think? Is someone skating on their responsibility? Am I being too cynical? Have you ever done a root canal that failed? I have. It is rare, but it happens. I call my endodontist and ask them to help this patient for me and tell them to send me the bill.

To me, that is what it looks like when a guy takes responsibility. Am I wrong? Let me know.

Have a great Wednesday,



Anonymous said...

let me get this straight. If a crown on a lower first molar fails 6 years after cementation because of decay under the distal margin, you're going to replace it at no charge?

gatordmd said...

I know it sounds crazy but probably.

Listen, how long is a crows suppose to last. If it is done well and they are coming to all their recalls, a crowns should last 20-25 years.

Something is wrong when it lasts only 6 years.
Now if everything is bombed out, they smoke and drink and eat skittles all

But if they are a patient, good oral hygiene, comes to his/her recall visits....yes.
Maybe the patient would pay for the lab bill.

How often does this happen? Not very often. Once every three years.

Part of doing business I say.


Jenn and Steven said...

Hey, John. Your blogs are great. I'm sad to hear you won't be writing anymore but you definitely sound like you have your plate full.


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