Home > dialysis, kidney disease, Vascular Surgeon > Are some doctors too busy or “only in it for the money”?

Are some doctors too busy or “only in it for the money”?

I completely understand that doctors are busy. They have large patient loads, hospital rounds, mounds of paperwork, and a plethora of other things. I completely get this. I really do.

As a working woman, I know how busy it can get, and I can often lose track of time, and I struggle to return phone calls. While the people who call me are important, none of them are relying on me for health care.

This brings me to the matter at hand. Recently Mark developed an infection of some sort in the area where the catheter was removed. The wound started becoming inflamed, red, and it had developed pus pockets. He spoke to the nurse at the dialysis center, and she put a call into Mark’s vascular surgeon, Dr. Alfonso Ciervo, who did the removal of the catheter. A nephrologist was in the dialysis center that day took a look at the infected site, and he put Mark on some IV antibiotics. The dialysis nurse cleaned the wound, and put a sterile dressing on it.

The next day, Mark called Dr. Ciervo’s office to see if he could get an appointment to have the wound looked at in the office. The receptionist there told him that Dr. Ciervo was in surgery all day, but she would relay the message to him, and someone would call Mark back. Mark did not hear from Dr. Ciervo or his office, so he called again the next day.

He was told that Dr. Ciervo was completely booked up all week, but she would relay the message to him. Mark NEVER heard from Dr. Ciervo regarding this matter.

The dialysis center called Dr. Ciervo’s office several times also. They wanted to know what he thought about the situation, and see if he had a plan of action. Sadly, he never called them back either.

The nephrologist who saw Mark was the one who prescribed a course of IV antibiotics, and he recommended the cleaning of the wound and applying a new bandage each day. Luckily the site is clearing up nicely now. The antibiotic seems to have done its job. The wound is closing up. The pus has stopped forming, and the swelling is going down. We are still changing the dressing each day.

While it all seems to have worked out well, I am quite disappointed in Dr. Ciervo’s lack of follow-up. I realize that he is not the primary care physician, nor is he getting paid for a phone call, but he was the surgeon who inserted the catheter, and he was the one who removed it. I would think he would want to know about a problem.

On a side note, I always make it a point to do a google search of my doctors. I like to know what others are saying, and what opinions people have. I did a search of Dr. Ciervo when I found out he was going to put in the new graft in Mark’s arm.

While he was the surgeon who removed the infected graft when Mark was in the hospital, I did not have any time at all to research him. I knew nothing about him except for his name. Since it was done in an emergency, I was pretty much at his mercy.

However, afterwards, I googled him, and I found he had a good background. I did find one negative review on the site called Vitals.com. (The review is located here… http://www.vitals.com/doctors/Dr_Alfonso_Ciervo.html). The review was from 2009, and it was not very flattering.

To quote that review, it said:

He will operate on anyone for money. Surgery anytime of the day. Stay hungry all night and all day waiting for him to show up but be ware your surgery might get cancelled because he is “tied up” at another hospital for some “emergency”. Overbooks himself with amount of surgeries he cannot handle

I took this review with a grain of salt as it is simply one person’s opinion. I personally found that Dr. Ciervo was pleasant (although a bit rushed) when he came out to talk to me after the emergency surgery to remove the graft, but I was just grateful that Mark was okay.

When Mark had his surgery to put in the new graft, Dr. Ciervo was an hour and a half late to the hospital. That made the surgery start time late, and made an already long day even longer. While I know that emergencies happen, I find it very frustrating and annoying to have to wait and wait. We overheard the nurses talking about how Dr. Ciervo was going to be “late again”. This made me realize that he is often late, and it was quite possibly due to “over booking” or overextending himself.

Overall, I thought he was a decent enough doctor. His office was nice enough. The place was clean. He was pretty accommodating and took time to talk to us and answer our questions.

Yet this recent lack of follow-up makes me feel as though he really is only “in it for the money”. He didn’t stand to earn money by giving a consult or calling the nurse back, so he didn’t. He didn’t even have to call Mark or the Dialysis Center himself. He could have simply relayed the message to his nurse/receptionist, and she could have taken care of it. Yet for some unknown reason, everyone in that office just dropped the ball.

Being that an infection caused all of this to begin with, I would think that Dr. Ciervo would want to be involved. Yet, he remained out of the whole thing, leaving it all up to everyone else to figure it out. I was very disappointed with him. I felt like he just didn’t care about Mark now that there was no money in it for him.

Mark was pissed about the whole thing. He wants to find a new vascular surgeon who can monitor his graft. He wants to have a choice in the matter. He was “assigned” Dr. Ciervo when he was in the hospital, and now wants to find someone else.

I can’t really say that I blame him. I mean, you want to believe that your doctor cares about you. It’s hard to believe that when your doctor does not call back when you are having a problem. It’s not even as though he did not call Mark back, but he also did not call the dialysis center either. He is one of their recommended vascular surgeons. Would he really want to burn his bridges?

Mark told me that the Head Nurse there was quite angry that Dr. Ciervo did not call them back. She couldn’t really say anything bad about him, but she did give Mark the distinct impression that this was unacceptable on Dr. Ciervo’s part.

I don’t know if Mark is actually going to change vascular surgeons. I know he feels like Dr. Ciervo is one of those doctors who are only in it for the money. And I am tending to agree with him after this latest event.

  1. November 27, 2010 at 7:00 PM

    Surgeons are notorious for doing stuff like that, but some are better than others. I suggest you see what other vascular surgeons are available and now that you have time, research them first online and also ask the dialysis center’s chief nurse who makes the best fistulas/grafts. If possible, set up an interview appointment with the top two suggested doctors…you might have to pay out of pocket for it but to get a feel for a doctor before you have to use him is always a good idea.

    Best wishes always,

  2. April 26, 2011 at 1:06 AM

    I think this type of carelessness is just unaccepted in this profession, as it is not just about the doctor practice it also about someone precious life.

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