Dealing with dismissive doctors...advice?

Hi everyone,

I've had lots of symptoms of an under-active thyroid for around 3 years, and, not surprisingly, they are getting worse. I've also had a semi-thyroidectomy about 13 years ago, and my mother is hypo. Recently, my symptoms have been significant enough to seek help.

I've conservatively ticked 37 on the Thyroid UK checklist - the most significant are recurring UTI infections, liver enlargement leading to mild jaundice, as well as weight gain, fatigue, dry skin. However, I've asked three doctors to check my thyroid function without success. They just send me off with antibiotics for the presented symptoms, and don't want to explore the underlying cause. One even refused to treat me until I stopped taking antidepressants (which I now have, btw)! I came out in tears.

I'm now at my wits end, having been on yet another course of antibiotics for liver enlargement, and the doctor dismissing my request for an investigation into thyroid, although he did confirm that I have another nodule growing, but said "it's unlikely we'll recommend surgery, and goitres don't necessarily lead to thyroid symptoms".

I'm usually a really upbeat person, but this is beginning to destroy my confidence. Has anyone here been through something similar in seeking a diagnosis, and how did you overcome it?

Many thanks for your help and for bearing with my long post!

11 Replies

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  • I would get a full set of thryoid tests done privately... Its about £100. If the free T3 or free T4 are low, or the antibodies and THS are high, then you will know for sure that you have thyroid problems..... Then this will give more weight to your argument with the doctor.....

    Of course, the best thing would be to get your doctor to play ball, but you could waste a lot of time getting the docs to listen. If they rubbish your private test results, you can ask for proof in the form of NHS results...

    Details of private testing on the home page of the main website.... thyroiduk.org.uk

    G

  • You must be entitled to further investigation by a specialist of a second nodule now growing. so I do not see how they can refuse you referral to a specialist when you request it. If you buy Dr Anthony Toft's "Understanding Thyroid Disorders" only £5 from chemists/Amazon you will find good, basic information in it regarding possible investigations in cases like yours. Dr Toft is a past president of the British Thyroid Association so this book is an impeccable information source.

    Also, regarding your 37 symptoms, after a semithyroidectomy about 50% of patients become hypothyroid after about 10 years, sometimes more. Your GPs should know this and act on your behalf to carry out the thyroid test you know you need instead of saying goitres don't necessarily lead to thyroid symptoms. They should check instead of airily dismissing you.

    So much for the much-vaunted "scientific approach".

    Try not to be intimidated by doctors, your taxes pay for them but I know they can act arrogantly. Perhaps you could take somebody with you as backup. when you request further referral after reading Dr Toft's book. This often works wonders on their manners and attitude as they see your supporter as a witness. It is disgraceful that despite your list of symptoms associated with hypothyroidism and another nodule growing that you are being bullied and, in my opinion, neglected in this way by their complacent attitude.

  • Hi both,

    Thank you both for your helpful, and quick, answers. I'll follow up on both your suggestions. My husband has insisted that he comes with me to my next appointment, which feels like I can't fight my own battles, but I like your view about him being a witness.

    Thanks for reassuring me!

  • Good! A supportive husband! Worth his weight in gold! Watch the doctor have a sudden change of his bullying complacency when your husband is by your side demanding that action be taken forthwith on your health.

    Don't waste a moment on thinking it looks like you can't fight your own battles, you should not even be fighting ANY battle, so no beating yourself up, the doctors are the ones at fault, not you.

  • Just found this post by NBob re Good Medical Practice for GMC registered doctors. in case you miss his post here's a link to it:

    thyroiduk.healthunlocked.co...

    And browsing through the GMP I was struck by this particular bit as, frankly, I think that you are being both bullied and neglected, one wonders what has happened to doctor's "investigate, diagnose, and treat" supposed ethic?

    gmc-uk.org/guidance/ethical...

    I trusy this helps you get the investigation and treatment you deserve.

  • Not trusy! Trust!

  • I got told by a private doctor that if I feel like the doctor isn't taking action then I should ask for their GP number and tell them to make a note on my medical notes to say that I asked for the tests and then got refused. Apparently if this doesn't get them to do something you then have everything you need to make an official complaint about the way you were treated...especially if you get forced to get tests done privately and it shows you did need them (which it sounds like you did)

  • Sounds like you have really bad doctors and need to find a new one. You've had a semi thyroidectomy, have a family history of thyroid disease, hypothyroid symptoms and a new thyroid nodule developing and they wont do a thyroid blood test?! Crazy.

  • Please make notes after your visits, however insignificant they seem at the time. Also, if you are not satisfied after your next visit, write to the doctor laying out everything....This will be a lot more difficult to ignore as it means you are serious and could have legal implications for the Dr! Don't stop pushing and if your GP ignores you or dismisses you, change your GP and then make an official complaint against the current one. It helps to make a paper trail, it's evidence.

  • Hi guys.

    I'd just like to say that i complained about my doctor for dismissing my claims about a certain medication. I've been assigned a new doctor who has just done a battery of blood tests and wants to get to the bottom of my recent downfall. I've lost a stone in weight since xmas. Will see doc in the morning to get all results. Will post when i get back. xxxxxx

  • Hi guys.

    Had test results back and everythings fine. Apparently, so is my thyroid. I haven't had any meds for months so how can that be? Also, this doctor is even more dismissive than my last. He's saying that the bowel problem is in my head and i should be attending an eating disorder clinic!!!!!! I've had tests that prove there's something wrong. My last doc dismissed 1 thing, this one is basically dismissing everything. I'm on the verge of leaving the surgery and requesting my notes. Help!!!!!

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