GP`s with a complete lack of knowledge about this condition, make me angry!!!!

I had to go to my GP on friday to get a repeat sick note. I am two weeks post cryoablation and am suffering some really unusual heart activity which can take my breath away at times, I am having occasional short spells of AF although these seem different (a bit more fluttery for want of a better word) I having quite a lot of scar tissue in my groin area which causes discomfort even just walking to the shops, and I also get pain in my chest if I have any trapped wind (which wasnt there before the procedure).

The practice I attend is run by a father and son team and my GP who is the father was not available that day. His son had my hospital discharge note up on the screen which said no heavy lifting for a week, so his opening gambit was that I should be fine to go back to work, so I told him that I wasnt feeling up to it (trust me I am desperate to get out of the house and get back!) and that I felt I might need another couple of weeks.

He then proceeded to set off on a monologue about how I needed to realise that I was stuck with this for the rest of my life and that if I couldnt cope with my job then I need to find another. I also told him about the unusual activity in the heart and he said to come in as soon as it happens again. I asked him why that would be of any benefit as he doesnt have an ecg machine!!!!!

Anyway I am currently in AF so I decided to test this and rang the surgery and was told they couldnt see me until 3pm (you couldnt make it up!!!!) So have made an appointment for Thursday to see the father and wonder wether to make some sort of complaint!

18 Replies

  • I would complain. It's probably his attitude that set you off.

    He should treat all patients with respect even if he has had a bad day. No lectures when not needed.

  • Hi Timmo

    As Bob would say, just because there isn't a scar two feet long on your chest doesn't mean you haven't had a major procedure to your heart, and if your doctor is not aware of what an ablation is then he should find out.

    I would ask him to examine you especially around the catheter entry point, and also to listen to your heart, and even if you are not in AF at the time perhaps ask him if it's sensible to go back to work?

    Good luck


  • Hi Ian,

    He did look at the catheter entry point and it is clearing up nicely on the outside but there is quite a lump of scar tissue underneath which is causing the discomfort, he assured me that it was fine and wasnt a hernia or anything.

    I feel that his attitude is down to googling the procedure and reading that "some " people may return to work after a week.

  • Unbelievable. Bet he would take more time out from work if he had had the same procedure. See the father instead. Vote with your feet. Good luck. Dee.

  • Some years ago Chris H and I thought it would be a great idea to invent an AF vest to strap to doctors like that so they could experience it! Sadly we never proceeded with the idea -- basically something like a body armour vest that contacts so you can;t breath whilst thumping hard all the time in an irregular manner. I can offer a few .people I would love to strap into one!


  • Totally agree Bob, I once had a manager who admitted to me that if I had a bandage on, or walked with a limp, it would be a lot easier for him to have some empathy. That was until he came across somebody in his private life who suffered from permanent AF, and he then became very understanding. Alas of course he has now left!!

  • Timmo - After my first ablation I had a huge, hard lump in my groin and I was convinced they had left something behind there. I went to my doctor who said it was fine, still I thought it wasn't right and went to A&E to be told the same thing. Well, I felt really foolish!!! I know now after talking to my EP that it was a haematoma (collection of blood) which will eventually clear on it's own. It is still early days after your ablation and I don't suppose your heart appreciated being tampered with and it's probably a bit sore. However, if you have any great concerns I would go to your local A+E dept. The GP you saw sounds horrible and I thank god mine is so lovely and knowledgeable. I fail to see how he can talk to you like that when you are only 2 weeks post ablation!!! It makes my blood boil - nasty, horrible, uncaring person. Can you change to a different surgery? Hope you soon feel better. Wishing you well.


  • Hi Timmo,

    Please excuse what might appear to be a silly question. Do you have a "walk-in centre" anywhere close you go to to by-pass the "non-supportive " medics you are seeing. The doc should know better than to say you are stuck with it. Depending on a number of factors ( age, type of AF, how long you have suffered with it etc) the success rate of the different treatments (cardioversion, ablation, pace-maker etc) will vary. Could be as high as 80% or more depending on latter factors. As an example, I have just been scheduled for catheter ablation ( aged 65) following a failed cardioversion. EP specialist has said there is a 70% chance of fixing it for good, but might need a second ablation in time. Does not sound to me like there is nothing they can do for you! Go back to GP and demand a second opinion and/or referral to a heart specialist.

    kind regards, Mallet-head

  • Appalling can you change your GP.

    Sorry to hear that you are unwell


  • Just looking at some post...what is that 1 week return to work post ablation..on google !!I had mine 6th Nov. Unsuccessful but no way I can work yet im bruised and sore

    Driving im avoiding I did have to inject heparin for a week which has added to the bruising.may need pvi now.


  • To be honest, some people can work after an ablation, I was one. Depends what you do and how well the op went I suppose. I was just driving a tractor (on private land) within 3 days.

    Re your GP, he sounds worse than mine. Perhaps my experience with mine might help?

    I mentioned my AF was returning 3 years ago, the GP didn't even reply. Mentioned it again 3 or 4 times over a couple of years, each time time they took my pulse, said it was fine, end of. Eventually I contacted my EP direct and paid for a private consultation (£150). Best £150 I've ever spent. Diagnosed with PAF and ablation was organised and done with a year.

    Since then, had another bout of the wobbles. I phoned my GP, who also doesn't have an ECG, and told her that every time I come down for an appointment nothing is happening so there was no point. She then told me, after years and years, that they had an ECG machine at their other surgery just a few miles away from me. When I got my next wobbles, I phoned and got an emergency appointment with the nurse. I had to explain that it was no use doing a normal, short ECG, it had to be a long one. They did that and it was long, all over the floor like a loo-paper advert. Although I was feeling basically OK, it still show problems. Nurse went and had a word with the doc and showed her the ECG and my very unhelpful doctor suddenly took everything seriously, as though seeing is believing. She arranged an appointment with my EP urgently (2 months!!!!!) and now action is being taken, don't know what yet, just drugs at the moment.

    Anyhow, all that may not be of much use but the message is, you've got to do it yourself because a lot of GP's haven't got a clue. It could be you need to work on your current GP, or change, or find a way of effectively by-passing them. Quite literally, and I hate to say this, I consider my GP even now (with regards to arrhythmia) to be irrelevant if not in the way.

  • My GP is brilliant and I have more trust in him than anyone else. Once when I went to the surgery for my INR check, and he knew my AF had been bad, he popped into the room and said "I saw you come in here and was just wondering how you are". He listens to what I have say and considers any ideas I may have. He welcomes any questions I ask him on the telephone and always has a solution to my AF control query. I am and always have been a very lucky person. Sorry don't mean to sound smug!!!

  • Yes, very varied Jean. Where I used to live they were on the ball and took anything to do with the heart very seriously. But where I am now I think they've all been on the same training course because it's not just one doctor, it's all of the ones I've seen.

  • What a pity it's a father and son team, it's so much harder to complain... The son doesn't sound like he should be a doctor with that attitude frankly. Can you switch to a different practice? If he's going to be taking over at some point, he's hardly Dr Empathy for any condition, I would imagine. We had one doctor like that in our old practice (his famous case was sending an old lady with a broken hip away with a flea in her ear and instructions to take a couple of aspirin). Everyone avoided him like the plague, which you can do in a big practice, but if there's just two of them, it's not good...

  • The father tends to have some empathy towards the condition but I also detect an air of disdain when I try to describe how it can make you feel. I will attend my appointment on Thursday then look into changing practices.

  • Just come back from my GP and saw one I hadn't seen for years. I've only ever had one ECG at our practice which was in October. The GP who took the ECG was pleased that they had caught my ticker in the act, and that I may need a pacemaker, and that it would be sent off urgently to the EP and ask him to bring forward my next appointment, which happened. The EP did an ECG at the QE, which also confirmed my problem loud and clear.

    I mentioned this to the GP I saw this morning and he looked at the records and said the ECG done at the GP practice in October (the only one I've ever had there) was fine, nothing wrong with it at all. When I told him that the ECG was the reason I was sent to the EP so how could it have been fine, he looked at me as though I was stupid. I said my EP's ECG also showed my problem. He said "what's an EP". So I said an Electrophysioligist, he still looked at me as though I was daft, so I said a cardio who specialises in arrhthymia's. After all that, he repeated that my ECG in October was fine.


  • You just couldn't make it up, could you!

    Shortly after I was diagnosed with AF I was referred for an endoscopy at the local hospital to check for bowel cancer. To cut a very long story short, after the initial sigmoidoscopy found a tumour, I was told I would need a full colonoscopy. They then referred me to the main hospital, saying that they couldn't do it themselves because my AF was a complicating factor. (Arrhythmia is a side effect of the laxative they use for clearing out the bowel.)

    When I got to the main hospital, they denied that AF was any complication at all, and told me that I'd been referred to them because the local hospital doesn't have an endoscope. They obviously think I can't recognise an endoscope when it's stuck up my *rse! :-D When I said that I didn't understand why she was contradicting what the other hospital had said, she just repeated herself in a louder voice. I argued some more:

    "If you don't believe me, you can read your GPs referral letter."

    "Yes please."

    "No, I'm not allowed to show it to you."

    With hindsight, that was all happening during the period when the cardiology department upstairs were getting ready to deny that I'd been taken to A&E, so presumably the bowel department also thought I was lying about the AF as well.

    You could make a good Monty Python sketch out of the scripts on this forum, couldn't you!

  • Ive just got back from my appointment with the father. I was about to lay into his son but there were two students in the surgery with him so I backed off a bit. He expressed incredulity at the suggestion that I attend the surgery if I am feeling unwell and suggested that his son just wanted to discuss things with me!!!!

    He gave me a sick note for two weeks (offered me a month but I dont want to be off that long) and then turned to the students and said that it was my anxiety about work that was causing the AF. The inferrence to me is that it is all in my mind!!! I countered this by asking him why that is the case when I often get AF at my most relaxed (lay on the settee watching tv for example).

    The father means well and is a good guy, but I feel that he wishes he could wash his hands of me. I am under the EP but I have to go to GP to get sick notes!!!!

    I am feeling a lot better today after three horrible days of AF, flutters and some discomfort in my chest.

    Onwards and Upwards!!!

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