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Dying to Wake From a Medical Nightmare

March 29, 1998

I recently moved to Southern California, changed insurance companies and began my own tragic journey into the medical muddle ("Into the Maze," by Doug Adrianson, Feb. 1). Even insurance-referral hotlines were of no help; phone calls to various offices got me office managers, but not once was I allowed to speak personally to a doctor.

Thanks for bringing this growing problem to light. Perhaps my future doctors will read the article and think twice when I make my first appointment. Just to be safe, I've left copies of the article in their offices.

Jillian Moore

Torrance

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Adrianson's article reminded me of my first primary-care physician. I experienced long waits, even when I was the first appointment of the day. I thought I'd have to get an act of Congress for a simple procedure that my insurance company covered but the physicians group didn't want to approve. I suspect their initial denial reflected the view that the financial bottom line is more important than the patient's best interests.

I, too, shopped around and changed physicians as well as insurance plans, but, unfortunately, "care" has been taken out of managed care. It is, as Adrianson describes it, the American Nightmare, and I don't think we'll awaken from this dream anytime soon.

Teri Wilde

La Canada Flintridge

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I have been a physician for 54 years and, happily, was never exposed to such a simplistic, foolish, threatening patient as Adrianson. My response to the finger-to-the-nose would have been a call to security and the police.

Also, administration of narcotic analgesics without a proper history and physical examination would be "unprofessional conduct" and contrary to state law.

Doctors are under enough pressure in the developing managed-care systems without having to deal with people who threaten assault and battery and have access to your magazine.

Dr. J. M. Wasserman

Rolling Hills Estates

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