June 10, 2013

Being Asked to Speak to Another Group

The weekend after our meeting with the doctor, a group from another town about 20 miles distant, asked Tim and I to speak to them on insulin. Because of the doctor involved, we decided not to accept. We had a suspicion of what may have been behind this and as such, I was thankful I already had another commitment. Tim said he agreed with me and agreed we should not become involved in this since this doctor had the reputation of not wanting his patients on oral medications to test.

Tim sent the regrets explaining that I had a commitment and he would not do this by himself. Tim called me the next day saying something that was a total surprise. This doctor was asking for our help on insulin and testing for all patients with diabetes. He was realizing that he was in the wrong and felt that since our group was having so much success and had in fact converted several of his patients to testing, that he needed to learn about us and to get his patients started in testing. Tim added that he felt we should accept the challenge. I stated that I was committed to my meeting and that he should talk to the local doctor and maybe he could attend with him. I said that maybe Allen should go as well.

The following day, Tim called again to say the local doctor had called this doctor and said that he could come if allowed along with Allen and Tim. Tim said the doctor was happy with this and that yes, he wanted this very much. I said this was great. I then explained my commitment of a late afternoon medical appointment and a speaking engagement in the same town to a diabetes group that had been scheduled a month ago. Tim said this sounds good as three of us were involved in spreading the word. I suggested to Tim that Allen should raise the issue of vitamin and mineral testing on their way there so that if necessary, they could sound out the doctor before the meeting about raising this in the meeting as well. Tim said they would be traveling in the same car and he felt this was worth exploring. I said good, and that we should have a meeting the day following to cover both meetings and learn from each other. Tim agreed and asked about including the doctor and I thought why not and told Tim to explore this.

So the day following our meetings, we met after hours at the doctor's office and had a good discussion. This doctor had forgot there were three groups in our town and the size of the groups. The third group was now at six members and hoping to add more members. The group the local doctor led was now at 10 members and he felt that would be more in the coming months. The group that I had spoken to was 18 members attending and they were hoping to grow. The two doctors leading this group were confident the number would grow. Tim stated that the group they had met with was 9 members and that they were shocked that there were so many groups. The doctor commented that this doctor realized that his diabetes patients were being spread out in different groups and knew he was being called out about not testing. He just did not have the knowledge he should about diabetes. At first, he was angry at what was happening. Then he realized that it was him causing his own problem and he needed to learn.

The doctor from our town said this was good for several reasons. He continued that we were being asked to speak for the next several months and now that this doctor was aware of my blog, he wanted me to speak about that. Allen said he had been asked by several of the people there if I was for real and a few had read some of my blogs, but wanted to know if I meant what I was saying. Allen was happy to say that he was the one I had written about in the testing for B12 and Vitamin D and yes, I was interested in people and helping to educate people about diabetes.

The doctor had discussed vitamin and mineral testing with this doctor before hand and had given Allen permission to bring up the topic. He knew there were tests, but had not taken them seriously, so he would also need to learn more about them. The doctor with us said he will be working with this doctor over the next few months until he can get to some continuing education courses and felt that this was a step in the right direction. We all agreed and Tim said he was surprised that this doctor was actually transferring a few patients to our town that needed insulin. The local doctor confirmed this and said there was too much for him to learn for the patients he had and had asked if this would be possible.

This was why the doctor wanted us back for more talks to his group since we knew insulin and this might help make the transition for these patients easier. I commented that none of us were patients of his.  Our local doctor admitted to having only a couple type 2 patients on insulin, but he would look to us for assistance. I suggested that since the three of us all were at the same diabetes clinic, maybe he could talk to them as well. I pulled out the card I had and photocopied it for him. He looked at it and said thank you, as he was not aware of the clinic being so close. He knew of the one in another larger city south of us, but not this one. He then said that he recognized the doctor's name, but did not realize where he was practicing.

He said he had the permission to refer the patients to our group for education if we were willing. After a short discussion about location, he said he would rather use video and have them learn this mode so they could email us when they had questions and use video if needed at any time. We agreed that would work for us and I explained I was already doing this for several doctors in other states. The doctor wanted to learn more and asked if I would email the contact information so that he could check how this was working. When I said yes, he handed me a card of his with an email address on it. He explained that was the office email address and for this purpose only. Then he added his home email address and said this was the one Tim had. I said I also do some peer-to-peer work for the doctor on the card and he said good. That would give him a good reason to call him and asked other questions.

Then he surprised all three of us and thanked us for our being up front in our recent conversation. He had approached us with other motives and when we had been up front with him, he realized that we were more interested in education than taking patients from doctors. He as very appreciative in being asked to go to the other doctor and felt this was a real help in getting this doctor on the right path. He said this proved to him that we wanted to help more that hurt those doctors that were not as knowledgeable about diabetes. He said that talking about the diversity of topics that Allen and Tim had covered during the meeting even showed that doctor you were more interested in education than pushing patients away from him.

Allen then asked if he knew the doctor he named. He said yes and was there a problem. Allen said this was the doctor he had left because he would not test him for vitamin and mineral shortages. That if it had not been for Tim and I taking him to see their doctor and the tests proving he needed shots and vitamin and mineral supplements, he might not be alive today. The doctor said he would get this corrected if possible, but it may not be easy. He asked us if this is what we do when a doctor does not step up when asked. Allen said yes, and he had not planned to leave this doctor, but when the test were done and he was asked to surrender his license because he was severely deficient in Vitamin B12 and D, he knew that it was severe. He had not liked having his license taken, but after considering the alternative of having to surrender it to the state, and then having so much on record, he said that that made him feel better. He stated that when his levels were normal they had given his license back and that made him feel even better about it. Allen said that our aggressive nature after the doctor refused to do the tests probably saved his life and for that, he was grateful.

The doctor looked at us and said that you normally give the doctor the opportunity to make the mistake first. I said that the doctor they were now working with had a reputation and it was the pharmacist that sent them to another doctor. He said either way, we are not trying to divert patients away without cause, and we all said yes. He then said we could consult any time with him and if we had a doctor that refused to step up, to bring the patient to him and he would see that they were taken care of and what needed to be done. If we were correct in our thinking like we seemed to be, then he would attempt to get the situation corrected. He said even if this meant loosing a friend and colleague which he then told Allen that the doctor was that he had left. He said that yes, he was aware of his position on vitamins and minerals, but for him to let someone on metformin become that deficient was inexcusable and he agreed with our actions.

We concluded and went our way home. Yes, several emails followed, but we wanted to think more about what had transpired.

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