Help--horrible dr

Dear all,

I saw a physician yesterday for a non-diabetes related issue, and it turned into a horrible lecture about how i am going to die (but not before my leg is amputated), and I would have walked out but i was too shocked to actually stand up. I have contacted the patient advocate for the hospital and was wondering if i could post the letter i’ve written here for some comments? i don’t want to sound crazy, but it really shook me up and made me feel like having type 1 diabetes is my fault. (she said that she also thought i might be misdiagnosed bc she had never heard of anyone being diagnosed in their 20s and that i should be concerned about this.)
i’ve never had anything like this happen, and while part of me feels like i should maybe forget it bc i don’t ever need to see her again (cancelled my follow-up appt.), part of me also feels furious at how she treated me.


Is she a human physician!!! May be you went into the wrong building to a Vet or so??? Crazy lady (The physician)


Absolutely post your letter here. Good for you for standing up & doing something! Nah, don’t forget it. You have a right to express your fury & this horrible woman should be made to account for her behavior. Hopefully, this will also prevent her from doing the same to someone else.

Am shaking my head in sadness for the experience you had.

And yes, we all will die one day …tell this Doc in your letter , that you know of someone , who was diagnosed witth type 1 at age 42 1/2 and that this person’s Endo diagnosed a lady , who was 65 …I am talking about ME ( at 42 1/2 ) …for me not necessarily to post your letter …but you need to follow up … for YOU and others following your foot steps !!

i think we’ll all sign the letter at the bottom for you! Horrible, i would be mean and send her tons of info on diabetes because obviously she doesn’t know a damn thing about it. I’m sorry that she made you feel bad. It’s hard to know what to say when somebody your supposed to trust and listen to says something like that. I would have been shocked to. Find another doc if you can, to follow up on.

That doctor knows nothing about Type 1 diabetes. Most new onset Type 1 is seen in people over the age of 20. Mary Tyler Moore was diagnosed at age 33, Gary Hall Jr (Olympic swimmer) was diagnosed at age 24. I am sorry you had to go through that traumatic experience.


Also write down or record all of your memories of the conversation. This is for proof later. She needs to be brought before the physician review board. She is practicing outside of her competency if she said you could be miss dxd as T1 because of your age at dxd. The clinic adminisrator should have a letter delivered to their office via certified mail. This kind of abuse is unacceptable. If the administration does not at least get you a written apology I would consider finding out how to bring her in front of the review board. State clearly in your letter what you want from this Dr whether it is her license or an apology(in writing so you can put it on your wall) or a cash settlement. However, if you pursue this you will have to sever ties with this clinic. The other doc’s can get testy about things like this.

I thought we were pass this kind of treatment by Dr’s. I had this happen several times years ago, but had no other clinic to go to. My only satisfaction was they were old and would retire soon.

Good luck!

My mom was diagnosed at 26, walk out? I once walked out of docs office because he wanted to put me on a liquid diet to lose weight. So I asked, what would I do with my insulin input? He said it should have no effect, because it was his special liquid. As one had insulin lows it released more glucose and counteracted it. In fact i could double my insulin, lose weight and never have a low. Oh and for fun, my jaw would be wired shut so I would not be tempted to to ingest anything but his liquid which came in a special bottle with a special straw that is the only kind of straw that woudl fit in my mouth once he did the special wiring job.

you gotta love a good quack story. Everyone needs at least one.

Well that does remind me of my mom diagnosed at 26. She went to see the doctor who could cure her. He prescribed a liter of his special oils be ingested every day. He offered that the average length of time his patients lived on the oil was three years, far better than the common medical practice of giving insulin. Well mom ran home took her insulin and lived 22. And her quack was in jail within the year. Like I said everyone needs a good quack story.

quack quack

rick phillips

I think Mark is right that you should be militant, but don’t ask for what you’re never going to get - don’t ask for her license because it will never happen. I doctor has to be clearly incompetent and actually hurt someone before any licensing board will pull their license. It’s harder to pull a doctor’s license than to climb Mt. Everest. Even more importantly, taking on that crusade will only keep you involved with said doctor for years - the goal is to sever ties and set her straight.

You should definitely clearly state what you want as a resolution. A written or verbal apology (you choose), a new physician, something that requires action from them, without a lot of followup from you. You might consider including with your letter (which you will copy to the doctor) a couple of copies of some of the material about late onset diabetes that is EASILY AVAILABLE to anyone who looks. (That means YOU, Doc!!)

Whatever you do, please do follow up with this clinic AND please KEEP US POSTED!!

Good luck,


Perhaps it would also be prudent for you to get a copy of all your medical records from this clinic. You might want to have them reviewed by a competant doctor elsewhere.

I feel for you. I once sat in a VA clinic with 9 other guys. There were 3 white canes and four missing legs. When I saw the Dr. he said not to worry about tight control. I beat it out of there, pronto!

  1. Get a copy of all your records that this Dr. has on you.

  2. Shop around for a new Dr. and make an appt. Your PCP might be able to recommend somebody. You can also find out about what other patients think about a new endo on, or

  3. Write a letter outlining your experience with this Dr. and send a copy to the head of the clinic, the patient advocate there, the dr. you are torked at, as well as the state licensing board. The licensing board probably won’t do much for you, but there is a chance that they will keep the letter on file if somebody else has a complaint (or worse). On the bottom of your letter, list who you have sent copies to, as that will show that you are serious. Also try to remove emotion as much as possible. It is also worth going to the American Diabetes Association website and pulling a copy of their clinical recommendations for standards of care, and comparing it to what your experience was like. Did he check your feet? did he take an A1C? They should have done those things (among others) and if they didn’t it highlights their lack of compliance with what is generally regarded as minimum standards. It will also help to educate you as a patient and will give you some insight of what you should expect from your next endo.

  4. Try and cheer up. Like any other profession, there are good doctors, and yours. Once you find one you like I am sure that you will be much happier, and that will have a beneficial impact on your enjoyment of life.

thank you everyone for your replies–i feel better knowing that this has happened to others (if that makes sense!)

if anyone wouldn’t mind reading this, i would be grateful for any comments–as i said, i’ve never been in this sort of situation before. (i think i deleted each mention of her name, if i missed one, i do apologize)

thanks again–

On June 17, 2009, I saw Dr. — in the division of Rheumatology for an ongoing joint problem. My appointment with her was humiliating and degrading. When Dr. ---- saw in my chart that I have type 1 diabetes, she asked when I had been diagnosed. I am currently 29 years old and was diagnosed 3 years ago at the age of 26. She asked whether my doctor had found this diagnosis strange and when I replied that I was obviously surprised to be diagnosed with diabetes, she said that it is almost unheard of for anyone to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at such a late age. I attempted to inform her that this is in fact a misconception, but she disagreed. From that point on, my appointment was solely focused on my diabetes management. In the winter of 2008 I was hospitalized twice for DKA resulting from a steroidal injection, which resulted in extremely high blood sugars for several weeks. My hemoglobin A1C level was elevated as a result of this, and when Dr. ---- saw the number in my lab results, she claimed she was “horrified.” She then stated that DKA does not happen accidentally and could only have resulted from poor control. (Numerous studies have shown that high doses of steroid drugs can in fact have a severe impact upon blood glucose levels.) She continued by saying that I clearly did not understand the ramifications of such blood glucose levels and that I needed to understand that unless I become more responsible in my healthcare, I will “die within the next 10 years, and at the very least, have a leg amputated, along with blindness.” Upon learning that my husband is a physician, she stated that she did not understand why my husband had not been able to impress upon me the dangerous situation that I was in. Furthermore, she did not understand why I was unable to listen to him regarding this matter. My husband is not an endocrinologist, and while he is extremely supportive and knowledgeable, I am a highly educated person who is in fact able to understand the nature of my illness without needing someone else in my family to explain it to me. Dr. ---- then stated that diabetes is a very easily managed disease, if the patient is cooperative, implying that I had until this point been uncooperative and non-compliant. Most patients with type 1 diabetes will tell you that while the disease is manageable, it is certainly not easy and involves constant battles with insurance companies and long waits between appointments. I am currently on an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitoring system, and several other chronic illnesses which had previously been affecting my glucose levels are now better managed, but she did not take the time to do a detailed history to ask about this. While it was very difficult for me to speak during this appointment due to my anger, I did state that it is very easy to judge something strictly by a number on a piece of paper, and that chronic illness is not always either perfectly managed or easy to do so. Dr.----- replied that she does understand, because she also suffers from a chronic illness and must take a pill everyday for the rest of her life. I do not know the nature of her illness, nor do I care to, because I found her remark extremely inappropriate and unprofessional. While as a compassionate person I am sorry that she suffers from some sort of illness, I cannot compare her healthcare regimen with my own, which prior to starting on an insulin pump involved 8-10 injections daily. This was compounded for me by extreme anxiety with needles. I am not at my appointment to hear my doctor state, “You should deal with this better because I am also very sick and I’m managing.”
Dr. ----- then continued to tell me that it is clear that I am an otherwise very responsible person, but that I seemed to have been unable until this point to manage my diabetes treatment appropriately. She repeated several times that I was going to die, and probably very soon. My appointment was spent defending myself to a doctor who does not have a good grasp of type 1 diabetes beyond appropriate lab work ranges. None of my rheumatoid problems were addressed during the office visit, and while she did order lab work (none of which was explained to me), x-rays and a follow-up appointment, I will not be returning as her patient. I wanted to walk out of the appointment before it was finished because I felt it was such a threatening environment, but was too angry and shocked to do so. This appointment was the worst experience I have ever had with anyone in a professional capacity. I was lectured for 20 minutes about my impending death, my lack of caring about my medical situation, possibly amputation and blindness, the inability to have children, and my lack of responsibility. While I agree that there are instances in which a patient, for whatever reason, is non-compliant with treatment, and needs to be informed of the potential consequences, I also firmly believe that this needs to be done in a non-threatening environment and by a physician who is involved in the treatment of the problem. Similarly, a physician should not make a patient feel embarrassed or ashamed of a medical condition for which the patient is actively taking steps to treat. My diabetes is much more than a lab result from December of 2008. Dr. ----- closed by stating that she could tell she had offended me and that she was sorry for that, but that it was clear no one else up to this point had been upfront with me about the true nature of my illness and all of the complications I will undoubtedly experience, and that she felt a strong responsibility to tell me this, particularly since my husband had been unable to do so. She then concluded that she is “just a very upfront person,” and that she did not mean to be rude.
I would appreciate a written apology from Dr. ---- as well as a follow-up appointment with a different doctor in the division of Rheumatology. I also advise that information regarding the late-onset of type 1 diabetes be distributed to physicians within the department who may be unsure or unaware of the specifics of the illness, and further suggest a discussion held on the manner in which chronic illness is addressed in the future, particularly if the lab work being reviewed is not current or the physician does not have the patient’s detailed medical history.

Considering my niece’s pedi sent her home with a clean bill of health, and I quote “She does not have diabetes,” (Sis is an R.N. and had requested a full work-up, not just looking for diabetes, although we specifically asked she check for that because of her symptoms) did not do the bloodwork requested, and apparently did not even send her urine in to the lab (we had to send her in with my mother because we were both working that day), causing us to believe she had a virus. After niece was admitted in dka and we chastized her over the phone, she altered her records to say “Could not do a urine test because pt. did not void.” An outright lie, as my mother even asked her if she had voided enough, since the jar was only HALF full, to which doc responded, “that is more than enough.” Never mind, she did not do the full bloodwork requested. Nothing surprises me about the medical profession. Make a complaint but she will no doubt deny it. Perhaps when the complaints add up, someone will listen. You were probably too shocked to respond in the way you wanted to. I would report her. I doubt if you will be the only one and eventually her “bedside manner” will catch up with her. Sorry you had to deal with her ignorance. You will most likely die an old lady with limbs intact! P.S. My niece may not have made it, except for a Type 2 friend at work who kept insisting she must have diabetes. To which my Sister responded, “but she was just checked for diabetes!” At the point my niece’s breath smelled like nail polish and she could not get off the couch (this last happened in a one day period), she was brought to the ER and diagnosed. The most common chronic childhood disease, except for asthma, and time and again, MDs can’t even diagnose it, much less instruct you on the prognosis!

i hope your niece is doing better now–thank goodness you paid attention to her symptoms and didn’t listen to the dr. it is hard because my husband is a doctor and i see him as someone who takes the time to listen to his patients and try to diagnose them correctly–i am sure that, as he is still learning, he has made his fair share of mistakes, but generally he is pretty defensive of doctors and when i came home from this appointment, he was shocked, which made me realize it must sound pretty bad for even him to be angry.


Wow, just wow :frowning: I’ve never had a doctor berate me because I’m diabetic… that’s just ignorance, plain and simple. I was also diagnosed as an adult, and it is frustrating to have medpro’s doubt that your dx is correct because of the age of onset (even though most T1’s are NOT diagnosed as children!!!). Even my MOM who is a nurse occasionally has to slip in that maybe I’m not really a T1 because I was “so old” being dx at 20. It’s crazy, but that’s just how some older people think - they don’t know or understand how the disease works and how it develops, or what is really involved in managing it, so they totally buy into all the stereotypes and misinformation, and they’re so totally convinced that what they think is correct, that it’s hard to convince them otherwise.

I’ve dealt with steroids and elevated A1C’s as a result… really I don’t think that should be held against you… especially considering that was SIX months ago!

I think the letter looks good a it is - I don’t think I’d have been able to keep myself from ranting through most of it if I had to write one!

That’s terrible! I just want to cry because of what happened. I don’t think I would’ve been able to keep my hands off of her- trying to strangle the sense into her thick brain. I can’t stand it when people who don’t know, talk as if they know everything. If a doctor doesn’t know, then they shouldn’t speak of it until they do- or find another physician who will know better.

To tell you that you’re going to die soon with amputations- and that it’s your fault that you went into Dka? That’s ridiculous. I would understand if you were putting the “I don’t care” attitude on display, but it sounds like you have been responsible with your T1D treatment. I’ve gone into Dka because of stress! It’s just how my body reacts! I can’t help it, and I can’t fix it. I can monitor it as closely as possible- but it requires over 20 BG readings per day (when I’m stressed) and countless Humalog injections to keep my BG down WITHOUT food. It is ANYTHING but easy. And it is ANYTHING but MY FAULT.

Frickin’ idiot. I wish you’d given her name so that I could write her a letter too. She needs to research before she teaches. Imagine if she’d said that to someone less strong than you? They probably would’ve left the office and commit suicide because there’s “no point to living if you’ve only got a few years left”.

I’m appalled.

And to compare multiple injections and continuous glucose monitoring at the risk of amputations to a daily pll? (sigh) Or to bring up her own personal story to her PATIENT? What a bunch of crap.

I would ask that she seek education. She needs to be reviewed for her role as an endo / physician and she needs much much more training.

i was dxd at 14. It took two regular doctors before my GYNECOLOGIST found the problem. Eeeesh.

Please keep us posted.
And your letter is great. As you can tell, I’m enraged.

That letter rocks. Send it now.


Terry is right. I completely blew my lid over this. I have had such bad experiences like this I go a little nuts. If you go for the apology it still is being noticed by her boss. That is the point they need to know they have a problem on staff. They have the ability to force her out/fire her. Most of the time clinics and hospitals will force doc’s out rather than fire them directly. But they are just happily rolling along thinking they have no problems until we tell them there is a problem. And I love Terry’s idea of adding info about LADA and if you could find it in a medical journal it would be better. Most doc’s try to keep currrent about medicine, all medicine. And if she is not she is a determent to her profession.

Good luck!

Your letter is well written and you did a great job of keeping the emotion out of it. I know I could not have done that. I am wondering if you should request a copy of your file before you send the letter. Your husband could probably answer that. I am not sure that she could put anything in there that would hurt you in the future, but it would not surprise me. It is almost a good thing she didn’t treat you. As bad a doc who knows what would have happened.
I have had issues with steriod injections before as well. It has been the only time I was truely scared of my disease. I couldn’t get my bg down. As soon as it went down I was terrified the steriod effect was going away so I lowered the basal. And like a rocket it was 400 again. I have not been hospitalized for 28 or 29 years and thought for sure I was going in for this. I was able to self control but only barely.
I hope none of us have to deal with a doc like this again!

Hi Alli

I wrote a letter about a CDE that I had, I blogged about it here . There is a redacted version there (all identifying information removed to protect the guilty!!). Copies of the letter went to 11 different people/agencies. It will also probably be useful to get a copy of your medical record to see what the doctors comments were. They are required by law to provide you those records. There are actually several different blogs posts there detailing what my experience with the whole thing was. Drop me a line if you have any questions I can help you with