A NEW LEASE—on Life!
By Judit Rajhathy, B.A., RNCP, D.Ac.
A Pain in The Ass
(A hemorrhoid story gone bad)
This is a true story that just happened to an acquaintance of mine and before you read this I will preface this by saying yes, there are doctors and clinics at Lakeside that would never be so unprofessional as this, but be aware and follow the simple steps I outline below, should you be diagnosed with a health condition.
The story begins with hemorrhoids - yep - those pesky little things that hurt like heck! So Ms. A is diagnosed by a general practitioner in a local clinic that she has hemorrhoids and that surgery would be prudent. The estimate for this procedure was $25,000 pesos to be paid over a period of three months. She was told that he would be accompanying the gastroenterologist during the surgery. Instead he sent another doctor. $8,000 pesos was paid toward the bill.
After the surgery, Ms. A is told that one internal hemorrhoid could not be removed because “removal could cause toxicity”, she “may have to wear an external bag for the rest of her life” and that her “sphincter could suffer permanent damage.”
At first, Ms. A believed the story but shortly thereafter, checked in a mirror and could clearly see that she still had hemorrhoids! In a follow-up appointment, she proceeded to voice her concerns to her doctor, insisting that he examine her again. He refused. She was told to put her clothes back on and that what she was experiencing was simply “inflammation.” Ms. A then went for a second and third opinion. It was agreed that, indeed, she still had hemorrhoids - including the same three large ones that were supposedly removed during surgery.
One of the new physicians said she needed to see a proctologist, because they specialize in matters having to do with the rectum - more so than a gastroenterologist. It was recommended she have another surgery to remove them, which the first surgery obviously didn’t do. So less than one month later Ms. A underwent a second surgery - this time in Guadalajara - which cost another $18,000 pesos - not to mention the pain and humiliation of having to expose her butt to what now amounted to five new male doctors!
In the meantime, Ms. A and her husband were receiving threatening phone calls from the original clinic, demanding that they pay the remainder of the bill and that if they didn’t, they would be deported! Needless to say, Mr. and Ms. A were frightened, being in a foreign country and not knowing legal protocols. As a result of all this stress, Ms. A developed shingles! More pain and as if this was not bad enough . . .
About six weeks to the day of her first surgery, Ms. A woke up to a knock on the door only to find an unmarked car and three police trucks with dogs and rifles at her front door. The officers insisted that she sign a document or she would be thrown into jail in Chapala. Since contacting a lawyer, the threats have now subsided. The moral of the story?
Get the physician to put the detailed diagnosis in writing.
Make sure the treatment plan is in writing.
Make sure the entire price of the proposed treatment(s) is in writing as well as a proposed payment plan.
Always get two or three medical opinions out the outset - your health is worth it.
Ask for patient references and speak to them about their experiences with the clinic and physicians.
Would Ms. A follow these steps next time? You bet your sweet ass!