Is it me or do German doctors not care?

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I've found german doctors to be excellent, and while health insurance can be a bit "expensive", the coverage is indeed awesome. They do seem to assume you are stupid, but that also makes them more careful, which is a good thing.

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Really wish I could agree with the love-in in this thread but...other than the team that handled my son's C-section birth, my wife's Gyno, and our new kid doctor, my experiences here have ranged from mediocre to pretty shitty for myself, my wife, and my son compared to the care I got back in my part of the US. And this in a part of Germany that has a university hospital, one of the best children's clinics in the region, and a clinic that replaces your vertebral discs.

 

As far as the major ops go, I think they're pretty good. But it's also about treating, eradicating, or minimizing quality of life injuries/ailments and the common answer to that seems all too often to be to "just deal with it" with little effort past saying those words. So much that I took matters into my own hands with my son's torticollis after waiting 11 months for them to crawl into this century with a real solution and hearing excuses like, "Well we don't know if that will work on him and it'd be too expensive and troublesome to bring that to Germany. This might not ever go away but nobody looks perfect". As if looks were the only thing you had to worry about with a neck condition. Jesus Christ.

 

It cost me 65 EUR and shipping. And I didn't order it from North America which has been using this product for years. I ordered it from the Netherlands but could've also ordered it from France or Spain. It got here in 2 days and, after over a month of wearing it only a few hours a day, my son's neck tilt is almost gone...compared to 7 months (it took them 4 to figure out what it was due to a misread from the MRT technician at the hospital...yeaaaaah) of WWE wrestling moves that they call a modality which did jack & poop and which we still have to go to for some reason.

 

I could go on about my personal experiences as well as my German wife who is used to having to look for a not-shitty doctor for every little thing like someone looking for water with a divining rod but this post would turn into a blog. All I'll say is that my clients, to a person, who are on private insurance have told me to get private insurance if I want care resembling what I had back home; one of them telling me that he told his doctor to give his non-private insured father his appointment time that was given to him not an hour after his father was told that the office was completely booked. And if it wasn't for my wife's issues with her company making me the sole breadwinner, I'd be considering it. Question is: If I have to go pay extra for private to get what I was getting back home...which was a private system...what exactly did I get over here that's so "superior"?

 

To me, it's like how we joke about how bad overall the cooking is here and the inevitable apologist pipes with, "But Germany has the most Michelin Star blahblahblah". Well, if you get to use that metric as a paintbrush then Americans get to (and will on certain "news" channels) pipe in that we have the most 25-top rated universities and thus our education system as a whole is damned near perfect. Pay little mind that more & more of our citizens are too stupid to get into those universities.

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I think another point that is not brought up is location in Germany. There is also a real difference in some more eastern areas than in big western cities. The best doctors I have had are either foreign trained or from the west side of DE. They have even made points to me how service here is quite different, but their comments where more to paperwork and former DDR ppl getting too uptight on rules.

 

Canada over all I had much better dental and service. Also there was no paycheck deductions either :)

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Coincidentally, I was Skyping with a friend who lives in Tokyo yesterday and had to visit the hospital with a broken fibula (the smaller bone in the calf).

 

He recounted his conversation from his Sunday visit ...

 

"Hello Dr - my leg hurts. I really don't like this grinding noise it's making and the pain is pretty bad."

"Ok - let's get an X Ray"

 

(pictures come back)

 

"Hmm - you seem to have broken this bone clean through. You should come back tomorrow so someone can see you."

"But - you're a doctor. Can't you treat me?"

"Hmm - better you come back tomorrow."

"How? I have a broken leg that is very bloody sore! How am I supposed to go home and then come back again? I have no-one to help me"

"Well - you got here by yourself today didn't you?"

 

Apparently things can range from excellent to this in Japan. I'm kind of grateful I'm in Germany right now.

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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

 

Yep, I've encountered this many times. It's German career and Beruf rigidity speaking. Serial entrepreneurship, changing careers, all relative unknowns in Germany. I refuse to be bound by it. I'm knowledgeable about many areas, subjects and topics and I'm always learning more, and I've done a lot of different things in my career life to date and I intend to do a lot more.

 

Just because it says X on my degree certificate does not mean I have to spend my entire life doing X - or even doing X at all, as far as I'm concerned.

 

As for German docs, I've mostly found them pretty good at explaining things, had some very good ones in fact. But then I've mostly been a private patient, so I guess there's a bit of the prio kidglove attitude from them there.

 

I only once encountered an oddball arrogant doctor, this was in Langen, Hessen, opposite the station. Had some problem with phlegm in my throat, thought it was some flu bug or something coming on. The receptionist was bloody rude and obstructive trying to refuse to let me see the doc that afternoon. (I was a public krankenkasse patient at that time). But I insisted.

 

The doc turned out to be even worse than his receptionist. Had some crackpot idea about the phlegm being caused by "talking too loud", stressing the vocal chords too much without realizing it... Wanted me to do some tests and some vocal therapy or other.

 

Don't know how he came up with such nonsense, probably some medical journal or other with some new pet theory of someone doing their Ph.D submission, or else some pharma company on the make. He also refused to discuss the ins and outs of his "diagnosis".

 

Needless to say I was suspicious and I ignored it, went home without any treatment or prescription and never went to see him again.

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In two years of Germany I am on my third doctor now due to moving.The first one actually discovered something and treated it with success, US doctors had no idea.

At location two I found an Emergency doctor (Notarzt)who lived a few minutes away from my house. He was skilled and personable and told you exactly what's going and what he would suggest. I'll miss him!

 

Both doctors always did the usual check-up on my body and if needed they ordered additional testing. They did the work first, and if they thought afterwards that a specialist was needed then they sent me there.

 

My current (rather ex doc)doctor:

 

I am in and out in 5 min. plus 10-20 min. waiting time.

When I am seen the doctor never checks me out, but takes me to the next room to do an ultrasound no matter if it's the flu or something else. Then I am usually told there is something there that doesn't look right, and I am swept off to reception to receive an Ueberweisung to a specialist. After the first three times going and the specialists not finding anything and sending me home, I am in the process right now finding a new doctor. This doctor never even attempted to treat me, but just shoved me out the door plus made a little extra turning on the ultrasound.

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So far I am thrilled with level of care in Germany, and I have to say my care in the US was not particularly bad (compared to many I know).

 

Perks: here I have no problem getting an appointment with my doctor same day, never have encountered a rude or difficult receptionist (even the one that laughed at my bad german did so very sweetly), never any time pressure to get me out the door, never a suggestion that "it's all in your head" (I go to the doctor once or twice a year - and only when I'm suffering beyond reason),

 

I think overall there is a lot more compassion evident in the system. A good contrast is thst in the US it is not uncommon to have an operation or other serious treatment in the hospital and be discharged the very same day, or definitely ASAP. I had shoulder surgery which left me unable to use my left arm at all for 5 days, I was home hours after I woke up from the procedure. My mom has had two bouts of lung cancer - first round they removed half a lung, she was discharged in 5 days with drains in place, instructed how to manage them, oxygen tank and such. Second round involved removing a wedge of lung and some tissue from the chest wall - home in 3 days. Regardless of whether she had home care or not (we made sure she did, but come on!) Etc etc. I have never heard of that here - it seems completely unthinkable.

 

My "favorite" story of the contrast: my Aunt had a gall bladder attack over the weekend and had to go to the emergency room. She was left to writhe in pain for over 6 hours in the waiting room (they were so kind as to give her a bucket for vomiting) until she finally demanded, then BEGGED that they evaluate her condition, or she would be forced to go to another hospital. With her threat to flee, they relented and found that she needed emergency surgery, but there were no beds available. Their offer was to dope her with pain meds to the hilt and leave her on a cot in the hallway until a bed was free, hopefully next day. She was rather forced to accept. They finally removed the gall bladder next afternoon, and she was at home by dinnertime, to fend for herself.

 

My coworker's sister had the exact same problem, but here in Munich. She was admitted to the hospital within an hour of arrival. They relieved her pain immediately and did the surgery a couple of days later, after they stabilized her and ran more tests. She spent another week in the hospital for recovery and follow up care. Very very civilized, in my opinion.

 

My own experience here: I have a crazy ongoing skin problem that is not responding to normal treatment so my hausarzt sent me to LMU. The doctor took one look at my rashes and decided I should be admitted for at least one week of treatment. I go in on Tuesday. I mean, this is most likely stress/allergy related, not rooted in anything life threatening at all (touch wood), but the degree of impact on my life is immense. In the US they would roll their eyes and put me on steroids, possibly indefinitely, regardless of side effects (they have pills for that too).

 

The doctors here seem more interested in actually fixing it. No they are not touchy feely about it at all - during the anaethesia for a biopsy the doctor said "this is the worst part, it's going to really hurt!" I said "oh god why are you telling me that?" "Because it's true!" and holy hell it DID hurt. And the assistant held my hand (so I wouldn't move) and cooed and gave me a chin up. It was reassuring without being drippy. But the bottom line is that they most definitely seem to care, and more importantly, they also seem to have my "quality of life" interests very much at heart.

 

And yeah - I am publicly insured. Compared to "Cadillac" insurance I had (as did my mom and Aunt) in the US. I thank my lucky stars that I developed this problem here, not there.

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So far the doctors, dentists and various specialists I have seen in Germany have either been actual crooks looking to fleece another privately insured patient or incompetent almost to the point of malpractice. I am very grateful that I have only had a handful of minor ailments over the last 3 years, but the thought of relying on these idiots one day in the future for something really serious is a constant worry.

 

I've given up trying to find an osteopath that actually makes a difference - they're either untrained or terrified of being sued - or a dentist that isn't a sadistic butcher who charges hundreds of euros an hour in return for trying to do as much damage to my poor gums as possible.

 

And yet Germans constantly remind me they have the best health system in the world. Oh yeah? Most bloated and corrupt, maybe...

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Perfect Poise

 

I do agree that with private insurance you tend to get a bit of overcare, but it doesn't bother too much. The same thing happens back in Australia as well. A public patient could wind up in the bed next to a private patient and the private patient will have to pay for their own aspirin and toilet paper.

 

I mentioned above that I'm really happy with my dentist, but in terms of sadists, I'm pretty sure I've met more than my share of sadistic dental assistants here. I've actually asked my guy to send in his other worker because his main assistant always left me feeling like I'd gone 12 rounds in a boxing ring.

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