Very upset

So I am new to this forum, and can't thank Asthma UK enough for their help. However, I have been back and forth through out of hours doctors, duty doctors and A&E this week, as as you know Asthma exacerbations never happen at a good time.

Would like to know if anyone else receives dramatically conflicting advice? I requested to come in and have a nebuliser as its the only thing that seems to help at the moment. I explained everything to the doctor on the phone, who said no problem, come in and we'll sort that out for you. When I got there last night, having waited about 6 hours, I was berated by this GP for inappropriate use of the service, despite being told by everyone else to get in touch if things weren't improving (have been on steroids and antibiotics for 3 days and peak flow dropping) and he said I didn't need nebulisibg etc, for once I actually stood my ground but I could tell he thought he knew my condition better than me and he thought it was all in my head. I burst into tears, because I am on my own, exhausted and very confused by everyone's inconsistent advice and feeling like I had no where to turn despite feeling worse than when I've been admitted before! He then offered me a neb but it was more like I'll do what you want to speed things up for me. He was defensive as soon as I sat down. He said my resps were 12 when they've been around 30. So despite everyone saying don't ignore these symptoms, get help, I'm not going to bother again because I can't face being made to feel like a totally fraud. I work in the NHS and I would NEVER treat my patients in the way he did to me.

Feeling totally confused and still just as rubbish-he moaned the neb was taking too long, and to be honest I didn't really get any side effects as I usually do-wouldn't be at all surprised to find out he's reduced the normal dose. Thoughts?

14 Replies

  • Sorry to hear that, sounds a horrible experience. Really don't give up, though - they are totally the doctor's problems, not yours. Giving up on it only hurts you.

    Can you contact the doctor you spoke to on the phone, or change doctor, or complain to the practice and ask them how you should have approached them?

    New member here, hope I'm not talking out of turn

  • I don't really know who I'd contact and I know from work that doctors stick together so not sure it would help me tbh! I cannot believe I now don't feel like I can contact the GP because he said im using the service excessively! Maybe that's because I should be in hospital! I said how a&e had said to come back if I felt like I was not improving and he basically said they're just covering their backs. He then did it himself before I left!

  • Hello Arthur Jackson welcome to the site, of course you were not talking out of turn nice to meet you :-)

  • Of course you're not speaking out of turn, thanks for replying :) I will speak with asthma uk on Monday and go from there. I get that my presentation of asthma isn't their usual but I don't feel controlled and I think it should be taken seriously. I bet diabetics don't have to fight like this. Seems some practitioners take asthma very lightly.

  • Being human, doctors have the capacity to be incredibly kind, caring and supportive or abominably rude & offensive. The latter, when you feel vulnerable can radically affect how you feel about yourself. Whether or not you want to complain is up to you (sometimes an informal "can I please explain how you made me feel" conversation can be more helpful than a formal complaint as they are less likely to switch to litigation defence mode, but it might help to let them know. The surgery will have a feedback form. They will also very probably have a patient reference group as well that you could talk to, & organisations like Healthwatch can help you comunicate the fact that you had a bad experience. As you work in the NHS you might have their contact details but they are generally easy to find by searching for "Healthwatch Mytown".

    In terms of the contradictory advice though I think that is more complex. Ben Goldacre (a GP), author of 'Bad Science' estimates that only around 37% of the advice given by doctors is evidence-based. In other words, nearly two-thirds is based on their experience & judgement rather than a categoric knowledge that action A will automatically lead to outcome B.

    Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean they are guessing; a good GP with a lot of experience will see that certain things tend to work & others don't, but we all know from our experiences with asthma that the inhaler I think is a lifesaver might be horrible, ineffective & riddled with side effects to you. It probably makes sense to identify the doctor who you feel was more supportive & try to get to see them, or a specialist asthma nurse if they have one.

    That probably doesn't help an iota, but you shouldn't ever be left feeling rubbish even if one doctor disagrees with another about your treatment.

  • I am very reluctant to go a&e/call 999 because I know I'm not having a life threatening episode as the GP kindly reminded me of yesterday(!) that's why I've gone through the GP. Im just not controlled and feel like I'm getting more and more tired.

  • Thank you for all your replies. I'm still upset at the way he spoke to me, especially as I was on my own. I've been here so many times before but had some sort of treatment. I am going to ask again for a referral. Have asked about 2 years ago and was told I didn't need it. Why am I on steroids if my chest X-ray is clear but peak flow not improving? He said I was fine because I wasn't wheezing-I never do! I honestly feel like every breath is taking more work like there's weights on my ribcage but I know it's not lids threatening-just like I'm slowly taking on less air. But sats and pulse ok. He also said I should be more anxious, yet you get accused of panic attacks if you do and tbh I have just got used to coping.

  • Can I ask what happened once you were referred? Did you receive different advice or treamtment or acceptance of symptoms that the GP had previously overlooked?

  • Have you thought about phoning the asthma helpline, I have always found them very informative and kind. ♥

  • Yes I have, they have been great

  • I am so sorry for you as I know how frustrating it can be in the UK with doctors as my friend over there is having similar problems with something else. Hang on in there - it will get better!

    For economic reasons I´m living in Tenerife and have been diagnosed here - believe me, its much more frightening when you cant speak much spanish and your chest is feeling tight and your throat is sore. I have just had to google my symptoms to find out why I have to use this inhaler and have discovered I shouldnt have been using it 4 times a day!

    Please take comfort in the fact that you can at least understand what people are saying and therefore it cannot be so frightening. I think that once you are stabilised you should begin to be able to follow a sequence and it will be ok.

    Good luck!


  • The last doctor (a locum, I hasten to add, so not one of my GPs) who spoke to me like that - for a different condition I'll admit - got more than he bargained for when I not only answered him back but corrected him on some of the generalisations he had made about the condition in question. His attitude improved after that:-)

  • I should perhaps add to my previous comment that my my husband was not at all impressed by the locum's behaviour when I told him about it. He was all for me making a complaint to the practice manager. I decided not to, but in a situation like yours I think might well have done so (or if I hadn't I'm certain my husband would).

  • If everyone who has an unsatisfactory experience with a GP lets the practice manager know there is a record and it would help to show up those that may be in need of extra training on improving skills. It may be that all some need is to be made aware that their "bedside manner" is in fact distressing their patients. Nothing changes if we do nothing.

    Sorry you had a bad experience.

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