Thursday, June 05, 2008

Richmond, Is There a Doctor in the House?

Karen and I have both quit our doctors and we need new ones. It's actually been about a year since we saw our old general practitioners. Instead of getting stuff checked out, we've just been consulting the WebMD and the Prescription for Natural Healing b00k. Sure, it's empowering to diagnose yourself and overspend on naturopathic treatments at Ellwoods (go to the Vitamin Shoppe instead). But at some point, only an expert's opinion will do. So, we each need a doctor. Who would you suggest? Bloggers and blog-readers, who is Richmond's best doctor?

Obviously, we're not looking for one of those docs whose loyalty to schilling for the drug companies takes precedence over satisfying the patient's concerns. Karen's last doc would listen to her list of maladies and then write a prescription for one of them and dismiss the rest before leaving the room, shuffling Karen along his conveyor belt of half-assed service. Discussing possible treatments? Heck no. Treat the cause instead of the symptoms? That's crazy talk. My doctor was a naturopath and very attentive, but his practice was falling apart. He spent an hour with me each visit (for a $25 copay), but after losing his receptionist and letting the voicemail fill up, eventually he just stopped showing up to work. No notice, no referral, nothing. Bizarre. For those interested, there are other naturopaths out there, but I need some reassurance before I make an appointment to see anyone at this point (and they sure as hell better take Anthem CoVaCare: State employee insurance).

We're looking for an imaginative problem solver - an accessible, intellectually curious, and thorough doctor (or two, but we don't mind sharing). Is that too much to ask? Is there some kind of online reputation system to help us make an informed choice? How do doctors wind up on the Richmond Magazine's best doctors list? And why do I have to wait six months to see any of them? Why do so many doctors simply fill up their waiting rooms each morning and let patients spend hours waiting and watching Montel Williams just so they can see the dude for 5 minutes, blurt out a word like arthritis or migraines and then take away a slip of paper with an expensive drug written on it?

Okay, that's a slight digression. Am I alone in my negative assessment of modern medical services? Regardless, Karen and I would really like to start having slightly less negative experiences with Richmond's medical practices. No one likes going to the doctor, but in this age of information, neither of us is willing to feign stupidity so the doctor can pretend that s/he is giving adequate service. By the time we've made an appointment, we've done our homework and tried a few adjustments (maybe years of experiments) and come up empty-handed. What's up, doc? Can we start the conversation there? (end second digression, please commence advising)


  1. Do you think the lack of response here has something to do with a general dissatisfaction with most peoples current providers or a fear that, if they have a 'gem' of a doctor, an influx of new patients will lead to even longer wait times?

  2. I don't have a local doctor, as I've only been here a year and haven't really bothered to get around to it... but have you heard of It's a great local forum, the folks there should have some suggestions for you!

  3. We go to Dr. Sydney Jones - General Practitioner for the general stuff. For my "lady business" stuff - Dr. Richard Rinehardt is the best OB/GYN as far as I am concerned. Both doctors will tell you to reach for a tylenol or other over the counter/home remedy before shelling out a prescription to line the pockets of the bigwigs of the "those who shall not be named" drug companies.

  4. Nick Tulou is the best IMO, but he's not taking new patients right now.

    he takes his time and listens- (although the nurse this time- a new one- had an snarky attitude-if she's still there when I go back, I'm saying something)

  5. I go to Dr. Nick. He's not the best doc in Springfield (that of course being Dr.Hibbert), but he's cheap and he's fast.

  6. Has anyone seen the doctor reputation system on Angie's List? I hear they've expanded from contractors to the medical world. My coworker said that people aren't responding because they wish they had the same doc we're searching for. Kat, I'll check out the forum you suggested. BPB, thanks for the names. Not sure about a boy "girl doctor."

    Karen's got an appointment with Tulou's partner. He (she?) was recommended by our baby's doctor. Nonetheless, the search continues. There's always faith-healing.

  7. Doctors are not what they used to be. My old doctors will tell me to use natural remedies like just gurgle with salted water for a sore throat rather than give antibiotics. Now it's like take this and call me in the morning...


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