The GOOD???? Dr. or Dentist – Part Two

April 22, 2012 at 11:53 am 13 comments
A few weeks ago I wrote the above post and in part of it stated:

This has been brought home to me in ways I never thought I would experience.
Of course YOUR insurance will in most cases dictate “the who, where and how much for your healthcare”… so how do you know the person with the white coat is any good? You are putting your “health” in their hands -and do you even have a choice?

I put the series away in my brain partially because exploring my recent history with “Dr’s.” I AM VERY BIASED as to the “Good” and the Bad’ and the damned well ” Strike them from the register” type. My experiences come from a patient/ patient family member’s perspective not one from medical knowledge.

I realize other patients may have had completely different perspectives and experiences with THOSE SAME Dr’s. and Dentists BUT these are MY experiences and opinions based upon MY personal experiences and there are always two involved in these relationships – the Dr. and the patient. I may not always understand their world and I am damned sure most of them don’t understand mine. So I have hesitated to relive the medical journey of my experiences – some of my remembered experiences of late are too painful and other aspects are too maddening .

The White Coat of Dr. Death- by Chris Ritchey

As I said this series was put on the back burner BUT recently every night as I try to lose myself in the world of television an advertisement for the Cleveland Clinic (Taussig) Cancer Center interrupts my respite – a face- I know all too well appears smiling – with white frame eye glasses to match the beautifully cut hair, a small diamond earring and the tailored white coat smiles

” or a minor miracle”.

Ah! the benevolent

“we will take care of you”

theme of the advertisement as the face flashes across the screen- I remember hands, beautifully manicured , as cold as death itself and a demeanour/ bedside manner to go with them .

As the advertisement continues and I recognize the places and people – I cringe, memories flooding into my over emotional brain, bile rising in my throat and I am jolted back in time to my experience of the obscenity of cancer and refractory Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the Dr’s. -the cure??? and the journey. As the “commercial” ( because cancer is a commodity ) continues to appeal to those that need the “services

“-( buy our treatment – we care- we are the best- we cure and we may throw in a miracle and give the hopeless hope)

like the fast food come on for disease -. The next commercial for the best new car on the road follows and is in the same vein “Buy Me”!!! I resist the urge to throw something hard and heavy at the TV screen. And I realize that I need to get the “journey” down on virtual paper if only for the sake of my television set.

I also came across a sketch a few days ago drawn by my son whilst searching for something else, completely unrelated ( see above The White Coat of Dr. Death) – I shuddered when I saw it – it was done many years ago when he was very young – but once again his artwork speaks (could it be from premonition?) I too will speak – so here we go :

Do you remember your first Dr.? I do , I suppose I was Gavin’s age– just about three- in London England – under the British National Health Service – I presume we went to this Dr. because were in his catchment area.

I remember his house – his surgery must have been in his home as I recall seeing the open door to his kitchen- his name was Dr. Moriarty ( not of Sherlock Holmes’ fame) I remember his name because there was a game that my Dad used to play with uncles and cousins at family parties, through the years that game would always remind me of the “Dr.” – “Are you there Moriarty?”

The room was shades of brown and smelled of what I now realize was stale cigarette smoke and drink. Dr. Moriarty had a very unkempt look about him – he had whiskers more from lack of shaving than of a deliberate beard – and looking back I believe he must have imbibed quite a lot- he certainly wouldn’t have still been on the lists in this day and age.

He had braces ( suspenders) keeping up rough working man’s trousers that hadn’t seen a pressed creased for many years ( a far cry indeed from the Cleveland Clinics Dr. of the knife creased Armani -like trousers and Italian leather loafers)- I think I remember those rough trousers because they scratched my skin when his lifted me up and they were covered in fallen cigarette ash. In fact I can see him now, him sitting down writing something ( my chart perhaps) at a big wooden roll top desk as a cigarette dangled from the side of his mouth- the ash got longer and longer and I was fascinated as to when it would finally fall off- it did and landed on his trousers, he made no move to brush it away or in fact notice the burning tip of the cigarette ( sans filter) was getting dangerously close to his mouth. He didn’t have a shirt on but sort of a long john underwear top. In later years seeing the photos of Albert Einstein and his hair I would remember Dr. Moriarty.

My mother was very worried because I had very little appetite ( if he could but see me now :)) Instead of weighing me the Dr. picked me up like a sack of flour to judge my weight and looked into my eyes.

Her eyes are clear and she is fine just make sure she drinks her milk and give her a tablespoon of Codliver Oil and Malt( with butterscotch and honey) every night before bed

was the diagnosis….. I can still taste it these many decades later- it wasn’t as bad as you may think and I looked forward to my nightly tablespoon. When Chris was ill and struggling when he came back from Texas I tracked down a place to order some , thinking it might help his strength, but the order was never placed- there was no need…………

I don’t remember ever seeing Dr. Moriarty ever again. The next time I was ill and tucked up into bed the Dr. who came – that is right they made house calls – was indifferent – old – sterner – not patient and smelled like medicine . I remember him putting his Dr’s. bag on my bed and taking out a bottle of horrible white stuff that had to be shaken – it tasted like what I believe disinfectant would taste like. I would have none of it – spat it out all over him- he was not amused -. I refused to take anymore of the vile tasting stuff- he gave my mother a bottle of cherry flavoured syrup for my throat. He said , very crossly,

“It won’t do her a bit of good” but she won’t take what will”

– The bottle of white medicine stayed corked and I don’t believe I ever remember seeing him again .

to be continued……….


All writings are based upon my personal experience , memories and perception of the events.


Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, Chris Ritchey, death, Doctors/Physicians, health, hell is other people, medical, personal opinion. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

Lorain Dude- a tuff mudder- NOT- Lorain has “fun”draisers and e books Begging to Live- the healthcare system fails the patient-once again

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. gramster1  |  April 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    My first doctor in Lorain was a good, old-fashioned g.p. He took care of everything and everyone. In fact, he delivered my first child and took care of her. It was so nice having a personal relationship with your doctor. Today it is too much about “business”.

  • 2. Loraine Ritchey  |  April 22, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Oh and too much about business can be detrimental to the health of the patient as I will eventually document…….

  • 3. Brian  |  April 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    I was talking with someone yesterday about some of the commercials that were being broadcast on tv from a local cancer hospital. While the message was one of hope for those that may be ill, the fine print saying that the results are not typical were just a quick blurb and hardly noticeable.

    Medical care and research has become an economic engine for many communities. The products and services are marketed like cars directed straight at the emotional weaknesses of people and imply sometimes unrealistic outcomes, but ads long as the CYA blurb is in the commercial, it doesn’t matter to some what is implied.

    If a medical commercial has to have a written disclaimer that says that results are not typical you would think that the ads would not be allowed. I feel that the ads however are not always about showing consumers a new medical product or procedure but achieving market share and the delivering the dollars that go with it.

    I find it confusing and deliberate that while payday lenders are required to be more truthful with their advertisers, that same standard does not apply to all that advertise.

  • 4. Loraine Ritchey  |  April 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Brian I totally agree – Have you ever wondered why lately there is the side effects voice over is now included . I thought why would anyone risk “Lymphoma” by taking XYZ drug.for a non life threatening condition…. well there were those that took a drug to cure who ended up being killed by that cure……. I am hoping to share a story of one such mother and her son….and it maybe just why you now see those disclaimers…….

    We are the guinea pigs and test tubes of modern medical practice…..and we have to pay royally through the nose for the priviledge all in the name of HOPE and now like the “medicine shows of old the new – snake oil sales of the 21st century………..

  • 5. Lisa Wendell  |  April 23, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Dear Loraine,
    You and I have just “met” online. Out of the blue as a result of reading Dr. Joanne’s blog. And in our last few emails we have shared our grief at the loss of our precious sons.

    For those who read your blog, I am the mom of the son who was prescribed a combination of immunosuppressive medications (what are called biologic TNF blockers) to keep his ulcerative colitis, a non-life threatening chronic autoimmune disease in remission. As a result, Maxx developed Hepatosplenic T-Cell Lymphoma, an aggressive, deadly cancer that killed him in 17 weeks. He was 21.

    We were NOT informed of the dangers of this drug precisely because the makers of the drugs (Johnson and Johnson/Centocor and Abbott) had not yet labeled the medication with Black Box warnings advising of the 6 fold increase in risk for this disease in a pediatric population of young men between the ages of 17 and 24. In fact, we were specifically told that the risks for any serious side-effects, including Lymphoma were so low as to be virtually the same occurring in the general population. The combination of the doctor’s ignorance/arrogance and the out and out cover up by the drug industries of deadly side effects (levels of corruption that are unimaginable and occurring across the board all the time with regard to all drugs) killed our boy. Thousands of people a year lose their lives so drug companies can reap profits we can scarcely imagine.

    One of the drugs, Remicade, was labeled shortly before he became ill. By that time he was no longer taking Remicade but had been prescribed another medication, Humira, with a different “delivery system” (self-injectible vs. infusion) that was supposed to have a better “safety profile.” Essentially, all this turned out to mean was that the Black Box warning had not yet been required on Humira. As of April, 2011 Humira now carries this warning as well.

    In the meantime, my son is dead. Doctors are still prescribing these medications to people with a variety of autoimmune disorders including Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chron’s, Ulcerative Colitis, and refactory cases of Psoriasis. In the four years since Maxx died, another 41 people have been reported to have died from HSTCL. We cannot know if they were ever told by their physicians of the dangers, however, we were not informed. We did not consent to taking any risks. Never. We would never have taken such a risk with Maxx’s life. We asked repeatedly about the safety of both Remicade and Humira and were always told the same thing. The drugs are safe. The real information was supressed. Deliberatel and for as long as possible to allow the drug makers literally years to make billions. Humira is one the top three selling money making drugs on the market for its manufacturer. What are 40 deaths when compared to billions? The true story’s behind drug company cover ups, lies,marketing scams, and greed are now common knowledge.

    I will talk to anyone who is interested in knowing more about Maxx’s story and I welcome contact with other parents who have lost children to medical “fraud” and terminal disease. I also urge anyone taking drugs for any chronic condition to thoroughly research the medications you or a loved one have been prescribed. Keep reading, keep asking, keep pestering, never stop. Keep fighting to get the information you need to make an informed decision. Our family is not stupid. Maxx was brilliant. We were duped. He lost his life, and I lost my heart.

    Thank you, Loraine, for allowing me to voice my thoughts on your blog. Your story is powerful and your committment to sharing your love for Chris is absolutely the stuff of which courage is made.

    Lisa Wendell

  • 6. Loraine Ritchey  |  April 23, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Thank you Lisa and I will put your comment up on the “front page so to speak in my next posting so it is read by a wider audience…. I watched the commercial for Humira just a few minutes ago and the “disclaimer” and I was sickened……. another episode of wanting to throw something hard and heavy at the tv…… I hope your story will reach a wider audience because WE NEED TO KNOW – and my heart is sore pained within me as I read about Maxx…….

  • 7. Loraine Ritchey  |  April 23, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    you know I have just posted about a man begging for his life – as he can’t “afford to live” – he can’t pay the downpayment on life – or the deductable …BUT I KNOW FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE… had THIS MAN been part of a Dr’s family on their insurance he would have NO SUCH WORRIES…Chris’ Dr wife – Clevealnd Clinic …. had it covered 100 percent.all the procedures all the stem cell …. nada nothing .which was wonderful for Chris ( had he lived) but it seems the Dr’s know how to “heel” ( not a spelling mistake) themselves……. I don’t begrudge them healthcare but what makes this man less worthy than they??????

  • […] Part Two - […]

  • […] been” Christopher Ritchey The mere act of making a bed in the morning transports me back – to the Cleveland Clinic- and the stem cell unit. Every morning during each of those weeks I would drive the 35 miles into the Cleveland Clinic […]

  • […] for him . I explored the “note of narcissism” (my own diagnosis of this particular“good Dr.”) in the first Mother’s Day after the death of my son. […]

  • […] Two This is the story of what happened to THIS family from MY perspective, as we lived through those […]

  • 13. Humira- the Black Box and YOU | That Woman's Weblog  |  May 6, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    […] Part Two - […]

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