Poor health practices can endanger patients

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To the Editor;
Since my wife and I are getting on in years, we decided it would be prudent for us to find a primary care provider a littler closer to home than our previous in Bangor. We made an appointment with a doctor’s office (I will not say who it is, or where it is for discretionary reasons).

We have been married for forty-six years, so we almost always do everything together. We went for what was called a well visit, on the fourth and fifth of April, for an hour each time. This was supposed to be a time for us to meet our new doctor, and to talk about personal needs, med lists, etc.

This doctor proceeds to cough on her arm, sneeze, wipe her nose, toss a balled up tissue at a basket across the room, miss the basket, picks up the dirty tissue, then proceeds to come over and examine my nose, throat, and ears, without any hand washing, sanitizer, gloves or mask for anyone in this closed in small room. It was disgusting! I said do you have a cold? She said, “yes” but we had no idea that were being exposed to a virulent type B flu. She did not follow any protocols laid down by the CDC, or common courtesy. Do I regret that I allowed this? You bet! So, allow me to recap. One hour for me on April fourth, and one hour for my wife on the fifth. Judy and I faithfully get a flu shot every year, and have not had a case of the flu since 1984. That would be thirty-two years.

We live up a steep driveway in the middle of 66 acres, what we call a foothill, so we were practically marooned for ten days at a time this winter, until we could get out of here briefly to get supplies. We were virtually quarantined. We used to joke, that it is a good thing that we love each other so much, because we are together all of the time. When we would quickly run into a store to get our groceries, and get out, we have always used extreme measures of hand washing, sanitizing, etc. This is why we stayed healthy for so long.

Getting back to our doctor visit, you could count the clocks on a clock. Seventy-two hours after our visit, we both came more violently ill than we have ever been in our lives. First me, and the next day Judy, with chills, fever, and a cough that developed into bronchitis, which we both still have a month later. It decimated our Easter holiday, and we had to make two visits to the emergency room. It was so bad, I would never wish it on anybody.

I called my doctor’s office to let them know how sick we were, and a woman that answered the phone said in a joking way, “Mr. Villone, don’t you know why you got sick? You visited your doctor.” I fail to see anything humorous about it. As a matter of fact, 36,000 people a year die of influenza, many of them babies and the elderly. In 1918, during the Spanish flu epidemic on the east coast we lost approximately 18% of the population, including my wife’s grandfather. It was so bad back in those days, that they could not build enough coffins to deal with the deceased. Yet, there are still people who think that you can get the flu from the flu shot, which is not true at all, or they think that you are going to get a crippling disease, or that there is a conspiracy by the government to make us all sick. They are idiots. I even had one person tell me that “whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Things like that are patently ignorant.

My mother-in-law died at 53 of pneumonia, and my wife’s father had poor vision from Scarlet Fever as a child before they had antibiotics. So much for “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

I do want to mention that we went to Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft. They were extremely kind and compassionate, and listened to every word that I had to say when I was venting, and believe me, I was venting. From the staff, doctors, and nurses, they were more than respectful. They even apologized in a letter on behalf of the doctor, but it is not at all their fault, I have not received anything from the doctor personally, and I probably never will.

I will be sending a copy of this to the Maine CDC, of which I have been a LHO volunteer for years, and the State Department of Medical Licensure in Augusta.

I sincerely hope that nothing like this ever happens again. When a doctor recklessly subjects their patients to risk without even minimal safety protocols, or at least informs that they could get sick, which is known as informed consent. This is not a whole lot different than a person who decides to drive drunk, or texts while driving.
Doug and Judy Villone

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