Inside the Dottie Matrix

Dottie is a referral clerk/specialist the family medicine practice that I use. Her job is to contact other medical practitioners about referrals to their services. This can range from other doctors to labs to physical therapy. The first time that I thought about reporting Dottie to her employer for not doing her job was about five years ago. Dottie has this odd way of doing her job, which is to not do it. Somehow she’s managed to keep a job for several years despite not doing it. Her co-workers would complain about her and she would get in hours-long verbal altercations with them within the earshot of patients.

resident and I discussing the pool therapy

The latest skirmish between Dottie and me is over pool therapy. Actually, it’s not even between the two of us because I refuse to talk to her. I have my mom do it on my behalf because she can talk to the woman and manage not to get riled up. Don’t get me wrong, even my mom doesn’t like her and gets pissed at her, she’s just able to not get flustered over that anger while talking to her.

Several weeks ago I had an appointment where I asked a resident to do a pool therapy referral. The resident didn’t remember to do the referral while I was at the office, so I contacted her attending when I got home from the clinic. The response from the attending was that the referral could be made. It then turned into a conversation with my resident1 over what could be done to improve my health and blood results, but the exchange with the attending did happen. Now, Dottie is saying that the attendings don’t make the referrals because they don’t see the patients, so she’s not sure if my story is even legit.

the response from the attending over my pool therapy request

response about pool therapy

In the weeks that I’ve gone without the referral, my knee’s condition has worsened. I don’t think that Dottie realizes how important the referrals that she’s making are. I’ve not only had this issue with her over physical therapy before,2345 I’ve had it with her over seeing a orthopedist6 and over a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy and an endoscopy.789 When my mom called after her latest surgery to get a referral from UAB to the Heart Center over the chest pain that occurred after her surgery10 and Dottie didn’t want to make that referral either. This was a referral listed on her discharge papers. Dottie didn’t care.

uab resident back and forth
even in my gmail box

It wouldn’t surprise me if Dottie “forgets” to ask about the referral or “forgets” to do the referral after she finds out that it isn’t a bullshit referral. It wouldn’t surprise me if she claimed again that she was out of the office for almost a month. At this point the only thing that surprises me is when she actually does her damn job.

  1. not the same one who forgot to do the referral 




  5. Within around three hours of that tweet, the physical therapy office called to schedule the appointment. 


  7. In that particular case, she told me that I couldn’t decide what tests I need and don’t need. I told her that I wasn’t the only person requesting those tests be done on me. 

  8. As someone who’s had several endoscopies due to GERD since middle school and has to max out on acid reflux medicine, endoscopies are kind of a routine part of my life. It’s not outlandish for me to have them done. 

  9. I ended up being the person who called the gastroenterologist to find out if they took my insurance and calling her back to let her know that she could make the appointment with them. In other words, I did her job for her. 

  10. along with the blood clot in her lung 

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Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.

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