Monday, February 6, 2012

How tired am I of hearing "the Little Clinic"?

OK, I get it that patients are too busy with their lives to "make" time to see me during the day. That's why I have Tuesday evening hours. But those hours aren't enough when one is sick on another day of the week and need to get better IMMEDIATELY. So enter the "Little Clinic". Physicians have finally taken it to heart that not everyone with an upper respiratory illness should get an antibiotic (in fact, MOST people with URIs don't need an antibiotic) thus slowing down the development of superbugs. Unfortunately the "practitioners" (and no, I don't mean doctors) who work at the "quickie mart" brand of medical care offered at drug stores, grocery stores and discount department stores, apparently didn't get the message. If I had a quarter for every patient who got an antibiotic at those places, I'd be happily supplementing my income. Meanwhile my patients are mystified that the amoxicillin or z-pack they got for their cold just isn't "doing the trick". By this they mean that they are still sick after three days.

Who is overseeing these people? I resent that my patients are getting inadequate care and I resent the systems that are bringing this poor care about--employers that won't allow patient sick days (which is what "allowed time off" is--a way to avoid paying sick time), employers that insist their employees work when they are ill, insurance companies that encourage the use of "physician extenders" because they can pay less for that kind of care, entities (like drug stores and grocery stores among others) that are offering poor care so that they can take another slice of the health care dollar, and patients who think a z-pack will cure every respiratory illness.

"One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine."
William Osler


  1. I know this post is a few years old, but perhaps someone else will come across it in the future. My husband just went to one of these clinics at Kroger here in Louisville as he needed a doctor's note for work. He has the flu, and his PCP can't see him until Jan 1st when his new insurance starts. The NP sees him and because he said he may have had a small amount of blood in his vomit the day before, she refused to dx him and referred him to another clinic. A small amount of blood is not abnormal when you're vomiting so much. It was gone, and there was no giant hemorrhage or danger. Because she couldn't dx him, she refused to write him a note for work. But they certainly took our $85! She did however try to get him to take a flu test, which is completely unnecessary, increasing our cost to $125 out of pocket. Not to mention the flu test can give a false negative. He ended up going to another clinic, having to pay there, and getting the treatment he needed. All in all, a horrible day. We were outraged. I didn't expect much from The Little Clinic, but we didn't need much either. I didn't expect NOTHING and to lose money for NOTHING.

  2. My husband and I also fell victim to the Nurse Practitioner staffed clinic. My husband was misdiagnosed with SCABIES, and was given a VERY expensive cream to use by the NP at The Little Clinic. Well, when the rash began spreading all over his body, even after using the 150 dollar medicine, he was able to find a dermatologist that did not have a 3-month wait for new patients. It was not scabies but a very acute case of eczema! Another few-to-several hundred dollars was spent but he is finally on the mend.

    I went to The Little Clinic for pain and swelling of my throat and ear. The pain was almost unbearable when I swallowed anything! The NP told me I had allergies. What?? I don't even suffer from allergies. They did a rapid strep test that cam back negative. I went home with the diagnosis she gave and directions to keep taking up to 800 mg of IB, drink liquids, etc. Three days later, I wake up, throat almost closed completely and difficulty breathing with even more swelling! I took myself to a PHYSICIAN today. Found out that I have acute pharyngitis. My tonsils were touching and throat so inflamed the doctor was angry I had gone to a NP. He said, "Your throat very well may have closed up to the point where breathing would be impossible!"

    We will not be going back to any clinic for diagnosis or even the very basic care needs!