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FAQ

I’m baaaaaack.

Well, I was never really gone…just on a little blogging hiatus as the new office gets up and running.

It appears than many of my new and prospective patients are Googling me, and many seem to have questions about who, exactly, I am.  Therefore, I figured I’d make a little Frequently Asked Questions list.

Q: How old am I?
A:  Old enough.  Seriously, though, I think people are really asking one of two questions: “Is she some wet-behind-the-ears-fresh-out-of-school newbie?” or “Is she as old as the hills and 6 months away from retirement?”  This answer is that I’m neither.  I’m firmly in the middle-aged category.  I graduated from medical school in 2000.  I finished residency and chief residency in 2004, and I practiced in New Hampshire for 11 years before moving here.

Q: Where did I come from?  Why did I move here?
A:  I grew up in New Jersey.  I lived in New Hampshire for 11 years before moving to Florida.  I moved here to be closer to family and to get away from the endless snow and cold of New England.

Q:Where did I go to school? Where did I do my residency? Am I board-certified?
A: I went to medical school at the University of Rochester.  I did my residency (and stayed for an additional year as Chief Resident) at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan.  I am board-certified in Internal Medicine.

Q: Why is my schedule so open?
A: People say this like it’s a bad thing!  Don’t you want to be able to get into see your doctor?  We just opened about 2 1/2 months ago.  If you want to get in quickly to see me, now’s the time!  However, even once I get really busy, I always leave openings in my schedule to see people the same day.  If you can’t get in to see your doctor when you’re sick, what’s the point?

Q: Will I have to wait forever in the waiting room?
A: No.  I like to run a tight ship and stay on schedule.  Patients can help me do this by making sure they arrive for their appointment on time.

Q: Will I listen to you?  Or will I rush you out of the room and just push prescriptions at you?
A: I will listen to you.  I am definitely not one to push prescriptions. When they’re needed that’s fine, but I like to emphasize lifestyle changes and healthy living.

Q: What hospital am I affiliated with?
A: I have privileges at Jupiter Medical Center.

Q: Can you call me Marni?
A: Sure.  Call me whatever you want.

Q: What is “Marni” short for, anyway?
A: Nothing.  That’s my full name.

Q: What happens if you get sick when the office is closed?
A:  Call my office and you’ll get my answering service.  I take my own calls, so they will patch you through to me, and we’ll talk about what to do.

Q: You have a doctor up north.  Do you need to see me, also?
A:  If you’re here for more than a couple of months, it’s a good idea to have a local primary care doctor.  You never know when you might need someone, and it’s a good idea to have an existing relationship. I send copies of my office notes to your other primary care doctor.

Hopefully this answers your questions!  If there’s anything I haven’t answered, feel free to write questions in the comments section!

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Ch-Ch-Changes

Change is scary.  When you’re leaving behind a busy, successful medical practice, terrific friends, a nice house, and beautiful scenery, it’s even more frightening.

Sometimes, though, you’ve just got to take the plunge, because change can also be a really, really good thing.

I’m happy to announce the opening of Primary Care Services of Jupiter Medical Specialists.

If anyone is in the Jupiter, FL area, stop on by to say hi!

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Dragon-isms 2

More incredibly accurate office notes via my voice recognition software!

1.  I’ve instructed her that she needs a new parous uterus as the one that she has is quite worn out.


I assure you, I’ve never told anyone that she needs a new uterus because her old one is worn out, just because it’s been used a couple of times.  (What I actually said was that she needs a new pair of shoes.)


2. His visiting nurse called on Friday with concerns that he was gaining weight and that he had two falls, one backwards into a set of orders for amiodarone down the stairs.
Sets of orders might be overly verbose and complicated, but rarely knock people down the stairs.

3. hismood.Hestakingbetweenoneand3pillsaday

This was just really weird, and I don’t know if it was a Dragon thing or a Microsoft thing.  At any rate, there were just no spaces between any words.
4.  Also Pebble Beach Ranexa 150 p.o. q.d. to help with the side effects.

Even Dragon knows that doctors are always thinking about playing golf!
5.  Continue current medications.  Follow up in 6 lungs.

Months!  Not lungs!

6.  She is a professor of urination.

Urination, UNH…po-tay-to, po-tah-toe.
7. Her previous doctor is retiring.  She is sexually abusing a couple of different doctors to decide which one she ultimately wants to see.

That’s…an interesting way to choose a new doctor.

8.  Mother died of a heart attack.  Father is out of cabbage.

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)…not the vegetable.

9.  He tells me that this year he really changed his diet and is now eating a pale yellow diet.

I guess that Dragon is not up on the latest paleo diet craze.  

10. He is taking several supplements to improve his memory and joint pain. He got scabies at a health food store.

I believe he got his supply at the health food store, not scabies.  If it was scabies, he really ought to re-think his shopping choices.
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On my lack of psychic powers

Imagine, if you will, two scenes:

Scene 1

THE SETTING: A BUSY CAR REPAIR FACILITY.  PHONES ARE RINGING.  A CAR IS UP ON A LIFT.  VARIOUS MECHANICAL NOISES IN THE BACKGROUND.

RING, RING! (PHONE RINGING)

MECHANIC: Hi, this is Joe’s Garage.  How can I help you?

MRS. JONES:  This is Mrs. Jones.  I’ve been bringing my car to you for several years for repairs. I last brought it in about a year ago.  Now it’s making a horrible noise whenever I apply the brakes!  And sometimes the steering wheel does this crazy vibrating thing while I’m driving!  It’s so bad sometimes I can barely hold onto it!

MECHANIC:  Wow.  I’m sorry to hear that.  It sounds like it might be serious.  Why don’t you bring the car right over so we can check things out?

MRS. JONES:  No, I don’t want to bring the car in.  Can’t you just tell me how to fix it over the phone?

MECHANIC:  Errrr.  Well.  I’m not really sure what’s wrong.  I have to drive the car and really take a good look at it to figure out the problem.

MRS. JONES:  Well, I really don’t feel like paying to have you look at it.  It’s so expensive!  You just saw the car a year ago, isn’t that good enough?  I really feel like you’re taking advantage of me.

MECHANIC:  I’m sorry, Mrs. Jones.  I’m not sure what to tell you.  I really need to see the car.

MRS. JONES:  This is ridiculous.  You just want my money. I’m just going to keep driving the car.  If it keeps making the funny noise I’ll just turn up the radio volume.

MECHANIC:  Mrs. Jones, this could be serious!  It could be dangerous to drive the car!  You really need to get this checked out!!

MRS. JONES:  Well, you should have thought of that before you got so greedy.

CLICK. DIAL TONE (MECHANIC IS LEFT STARING IN DISBELIEF AT THE PHONE)

Scene 2
THE SETTING: A BUSY PRIMARY CARE OFFICE.  PHONES ARE RINGING IN THE BACKGROUND. 
RING RING! (PHONE RINGING)
NURSE:  Hi, this is Primary Care Associates!  How can I help you?
MRS. JONES:  Hi.  I have a really bad earache.  It’s my left ear.  It’s also really itchy.  Oh, and I can’t hear out of it.
NURSE:  Wow. I’m sorry to hear you’re not feeling well.  I can fit you in with the doctor this afternoon, OK?  Let me just get your name and date of birth.
MRS. JONES:  No, I don’t want to come in.  Can’t she just call something in over the phone? I use Rite Aid.
NURSE:  Well, I’m really sorry, but she’s going to have to take a look at your ear to figure out what the problem is.
MRS. JONES:  I TOLD you what the problem is!  It hurts and it’s itchy.  And I can’t hear!
NURSE:  Right, but there are a lot of different things that can cause those symptoms.  We need to make a diagnosis in order to give the proper treatment.
MRS. JONES:  It’s too expensive.  I have a $20 copay, you know.  I just saw the doctor 3 months ago for my high blood pressure.  Why would she have to see me again?  You know what, just forget it.  I’ll take some ibuprofen.
NURSE:  Mrs. Jones, you should really get checked out!  If it’s an infection it could lead to complications. We can get you in today!  Why don’t you come on over?
MRS. JONES:  Well, you should have thought of that before you got so greedy.  I’m going to find a new doctor, one that cares about her patients more than money.
CLICK.  DIAL TONE.
So, what’s the difference between these two scenarios?  Both are patently absurd, right?
I have no experience as a mechanic, but my guess it that only one is likely to happen in real life.  Scenario number two happens to me frequently.  It doesn’t always get as far as a patient firing me as a doctor, but it has occurred.  
I’m not trying to be greedy.  Really.  But I am trying to practice good medicine, and that includes a good history and physical exam.  The problem is that I attended the University of Rochester, not Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Therefore, I didn’t take the class in Divination, which includes crystal ball gazing and predicting the future.  I also didn’t take Occlumency, which involves mind-reading.  So, I’m stuck with the old-fashioned method of actually seeing a patient face-to-face and examining them.  Sorry.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- it’s bad practice to treat someone over the phone.  Even the New Hampshire Board of Medicine agrees with me.    So, I’ll continue to stick to my guns on this one.  If it costs me a few patients, so be it.