Is it me or do German doctors not care?

50 posts in this topic

Thanks, I didn't want to scare you totally, just to nudge you into an appointment. Glad you are seeing someone!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@dessa, thanks, that makes good sense. As you can see, I'm sensitive to the fact that it might just be a case of my swollen American expectations (pun intended)

 

Just out of curiosity, anything you can share about that "sound psychological advice" that cured your phantom lymphoma/brain tumor/hyperthyroidism? Sounds similar to the kick I'm on now...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sure. Basically, he told me that I was at odds with myself for staying in an unsatisfactory situation which was beginning to negatively affect my health (a 24-hour stint with a machine hanging off my arm confirmed borderline high blood pressure, which was causing other mild problems), and recommended I take some steps to make me feel less worried and anxious, and more proactive and positively engaged. I realize that's pretty vague, but you could apply it across the board to a number of things.

 

Did what he said, got better quickly thereafter. Blood pressure now well within healthy range.

 

He also told me to quit smoking, but what does he know

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

So far I haven't heard that Germans drop dead of preventable/curable diseases at a higher rate than Americans, so I'm reluctant to believe that the doctors are actually being negligent.

I hear what you're saying... but I think it's not always a matter of people dropping dead. In my recent experience American doctors seem better at offering what might be called quality of life options in terms of treatments or medicines. Things that the Krankenkasse doesn't necessarily see as high priority treatments so they don't tend to offer them. Obviously you could argue that the Medical/Pharma Industrial Complex is simply more efficient at marketing their latest wonder-drug or whizz-bang medical device in the States vs more budget conscious Germany.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can someone give me an example of their Krankenkasse turning down a necessary test/treatment? I have never experienced that.

 

 

the Medical/Pharma Industrial Complex is simply more efficient at marketing their latest wonder-drug or whizz-bang medical device in the States

Yes, and look what they have created.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I go and see my Hausartz about once - possibly twice - a year. He's very calm and down-to-earth and regards me as pretty healthy. Often, when I go to him with, say, the fear that I'm developing early dementia or Alzheimer's as I'm having difficulty remembering things, he asks me about my work habits and says it's all stress-related. Right now, it's true and I'm off work this week through overwork.

 

But with regard to the blood tests and being told, with a nonchalant wave of the hand, "everything's fine", that is because they get a print-out from the lab with the actual values and the recommended values. If nothing is flagged up as being outside the recommended range, they say "everything's fine". Personally, I ask them to send me a copy of the results so that I can see all the values myself. Maybe you should ask them to do this, too.

 

As for tests, in the UK, I had a really nice GP (Hausarzt) who took time with patients but the equipment he had... well.. a garden shed would have been better equipped - and he was in a practice with 2 other doctors! They had nothing. Germany is luxurious in comparison.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting read

 

 

U.S. versus European healthcare costs...

 

We’ve all heard that U.S. healthcare services cost more and deliver less “value for the money” than European systems—i.e., less mortality benefits for the amount of money spent. Is this true?...

 

...does the U.S. healthcare system really deliver less quality for the dollar than the healthcare systems of other industrialized nations?

 

Worldpress

 

And as for doctors not caring - that's the same everywhere - some care a lot, some not so much. I've had healthcare in the US, UK, Italy, Germany - not much difference (for private patients) .For state (organised) cover, Germany seems pretty damn good...

Patient in doctor nonchalance and condescension shocker? ;)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you think German doctors don't care, you'll LOVE Dutch doctors. I went to the ER with bad abdominal pain at 2 am, and there was NO ONE THERE. The lady asked why I hadn't called ahead. Dumbfounded. I was clearly cringing, so she said wait. I waited for about 10 minutes while the non-existent patients before me went ahead. Finally, the doctor called me in, asked me to lie down, pressed around my belly a little, and said I was fine and that they couldn't do anything for this yet. He also asked, of course, if I had paracetamol at home. Laugh track. I did, and so he let me go.

 

This was just the funniest of many encounters with the Dutch medical system. I understand they want to minimize the fakers and hypochondriacs, but really.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The lady asked why I hadn't called ahead. Dumbfounded.

 

Well the policy probably varies from country to country. It's the same in Denmark for emergency treatment. If you rent a holiday home like we did they clearly point it out in the folder you get.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I encounter a crap Dr. I simply change Drs. There are enough of them out there to find a good one. One that has time to listen. Drop the ones that offer a steady stream of homeopathic "cures". Ask friends and work colleagues for recommendations. Use the Search function on TT to find recommendations in your area. Don't settle for being treated by an arrogant Dr.

 

Have had my share of too busy Drs. or ones that wanted send me home with fake meds. but have also had really good ones. Don't be afraid to change Drs. In the middle of my pregnancy here, I switched my Dr. as he began to get annoyed with my many questions, and I always had to wait for a couple of hours in his waiting room. Told me not to read so much and in a very demeaning tone. He got a quick good-bye. Same with a pediatrician that tried to tell me that my daughter would be too dependent on me because I was nursing her at 1 year, that I should have stopped at 6 months. What a shock! I asked him when was the last time he was at a playground and saw all the 4-6 year olds with bottles and pacifiers shoved in their mouths, unable to function or speak without them. My child was a happy, care-free baby, and those children were dependent.

 

I do often make a list of questions to take with me, so that I don't forget anything.

8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had both good and bad experiences here ranging from a whole hour with my son's hematologist to discuss concerns (unheard of in the US, where you're lucky to get 10 minutes) to an ENT (HNO) that barely glanced at my excruciatingly painful ear and "prescribed" tea. I've been given excellent care in some places, and basically been called a crybaby in others. I get pretty frustrated when I have an on-going medical problem and the doctor suggests homeopathy with no explanation about how or why it should work. (I'm no enemy of homeopathy, but some doctors in town rely so heavily on it that they sometimes overlook the need for other options.)

 

I've had referrals with no instructions attached, too. One blood lab asked me what tests I wanted done since the uberweisung had absolutely no instructions. What I do now is always ask the doc to write down the condition or the issue for me "because I'm foreign" and don't want to get confused. Usually they're obliging.

 

I've also been caught in the middle of doctor-on-doctor fighting between specialists over the meaning of test results and the proper course of action, and in both cases was basically asked to pick a side with no medical knowledge whatsoever (very awkward and IMO pretty unprofessional).

 

I have to say, though, that the attention and time and excellent care my son gets for his chronic condition goes above and beyond anything I've ever imagined in my wildest dreams. His care here is at least as good as it was in the US and costs us less money overall.

 

If you don't like a doctor, go to someone else. You're bound to stumble on a sympathetic one eventually.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not looking for sympathetic doctors, but for professional ones. It's no good having someone with great social skills and poor medical knowledge when you're trying to diagnose a (physical) health issue.

That said, I've been very happy with the doctors I've encountered in Germany so far (not necessarily German doctors though).

 

Funny happening #1: I got the results of a medical investigation by post, along with the yellow slip for the sick leave. Stupid as I am, I started looking up online the ICD codes from the yellow paper. First two said a code followed by a G, third was followed by an A. First two were nothing out of the ordinary, third one... well, corresponds to cancer. I've spent the shittiest evening in my life so far until I found out the Germans have their own addition to the ICD - those letters at the end specify the status of a condition/symptom and the A stands for Ausschlüsseln = excluded. So basically the paper said the exact opposite I had understood.

 

Funny - or not so funny - happening #2: my girlfriend discovered a breast nodule one morning. This was the Wednesday before Easter. We were abroad, so we looked up an English-speaking doctor using the KVB search form, called in, made an appointment for the next morning (mind you, Easter Thursday). We drove back over the day, went to the doctor in the morning, she made a quick examination and recommended a visit to a specialist. She then picked up the phone and convinced / coerced the staff at the LMU Klinik which handles that stuff to set up a meeting for ASAP - i.e. the same afternoon. We were there, investigations have been performed, nodule turned out to be a cyst. A great source of fear was resolved within less than 24 hours after making the first call.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like everyone else, I've had good experiences and bad experiences in Germany, and have had good experiences and bad experiences in the U.S. I'll save you the gory details, but in general, I think that I get more for my money here in Germany in terms of health care.

 

My doctor recommendation in Berlin:

 

A million years ago (2004), I needed regular blood work and was spending the summer in Berlin. In Charlottenburg, I found a doctor from the U.S. who had also trained in Germany (http://www.doctorliccini.com). The practice was a little hard to find but the staff was accustomed to dealing with Americans and American medical customs - back then, my German wasn't so hot, so it was just right for me. They were really nice and and got back to me pretty quickly with the results of my blood work. Also, the costs were reasonable. My U.S. insurance refused to pay for German blood work, since it was a pre-existing condition, the blood work wasn't covered by travel insurance, and I wasn't in Germany long enough to be able to sign up for German insurance, so I just paid for everything out of pocket. Even though I was just listed as "privat" in the computer, the full cost of the blood work and follow-up telefonische Beratung was still less than the cost of my U.S. insurance copay for the exact same blood work.

 

I haven't had to go to the doctor in Berlin since then and honestly can't tell you what the practice is like nine years later, but at the time, I was extremely satisfied. The staff also understands - or understood, at least - where you are coming from, in terms of cultural expectations, so that might help some, too.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't really had any issues other than the substitute doctor for mine isn't that great. When I was having joint pain a lot, my doctor said to me it was because a lack of exercise and a lot of stress. She suggested I do something like yoga but she also did a lot of blood tests and sent me to a couple of specialist. Only thing that was a bit low was iodine and after switching to iodine salt and doing pilates once a week, I felt a lot better after about a month. I have a public insurance so I don't know if it makes a difference but my doctor was very caring and explained what they were testing for and why.

 

I had the opposite experience when I was at university in the US and was covered by my parents' insurance. I was passing out often and went to the medical center at the university and they did a bunch of tests, not telling what they were for. They couldn't find anything so they told me to go to my doctor at home, where I got bounced around from doctor to doctor, most of them being in and out in least 2 minutes. I finally went to a neurologist and we talked for 10 minutes. He told me to lay down and not move and he would come back and not to get up until he said so. He came back 15 minutes later took my blood pressure and then told me sit up and took it again. He was a bit annoyed not by me, he said it was my blood pressure and if any doctor before him had listened to me they could have figured that out and he gave me something make my blood pressure higher.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Only good experiances here but then I never had health insurance in the US as an adult after I got out of the military in 87 so not much to compare.

I never ever went to a doctor in the US in that time with the ecception of once or twice when I buggerd myself in climbing or motorbike accidents and went to one of those little mall cash basis clinics for an X ray or abit of bandaging.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will say doctors here go from pretty useless to a very high standard. At least here in Dresden.

This weekend I had an asthma attack (not too serious) but enough that I needed my puffer. Of course it had ran low and I was out of town so I needed to go down to the 24hour clinic (not emergency). Of course I had to get yelled at by the desk nurse, and then later by the doctor how its not good to do this and that and how ppl abuse hard drugs this way. Of course I replied cuz I am some fat f(*K that is clearly not physically in good shape (bike 800KM+/month) and that I have nothing better to do. Further that I asked is this not the absolute weakest form of puffer available and are there no other patients out in the room?

 

Really, who needs that.

 

On the flip side I went to a specialist here after some heavy amount of effort for a new leg brace. I wear this as I had cancer when I was kid. He was very informative, friendly, and supportive and went out of his way to help me get the correct new brace instead of a generic one. Very important for biking and being active. He is even said if Healthcare gives issues he will explain to them.

 

Dentists, well that's almost 3rd world and another story.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Most of the time doctors are extremely nice and polite (can't often say so much for secretaries, naja), but I can't get over the feeling that they just don't give a shit. There's also the nagging feeling that money might have something to do with it. If they can't do unlimited tests with a Krankenkasse paying for it they just don't want to deal with whatever might potentially be wrong with me...?

 

Maybe this is nuts, but have you tried giving them a budget? ie I have x concern, and am willing/able to pay €y for tests.

 

I went this week finally about a chronic health issue. I explained about my not-paying-for-anything insurance, and that I'll get the good insurance starting in Oct, so the doctor did the cheaper test. Not ideal but better than nothing, and will give a general idea of how things are going in there. If I weren't going to be eligible for public insurance soon, I just would have gone ahead and gotten both tests done now though.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had very good experiences with all the medical personnel I've dealt with here - from doctors to dentists. My dentist here especially, runs rings around anyone I ever had back home - he's fantastic.

 

One thing I've noticed in out of clinic situations (I have a few doctors in my extended social circle) - the ones I know get extremely irritated if you can talk medicine on their level. It's the funniest thing, but it's almost like "How DARE YOU know something about that when you're not a doctor!". I've met quite a few (non doctor) people here in Germany who seem to get confused if you know stuff outside of your field of work, but with my doctor acquaintances it's a completely different level of offended. I have no idea why they're like this. I actually started baiting them a bit the last time we were together, which wasn't very nice, but it was a hoot to watch their reactions.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now