Thursday, February 19, 2009

Medical Missteps and Mishaps

I've had a spotty history with the medical profession in Hoboken. When I first arrived I began looking for a primary caregiver, as they say in today's medical parlance. I found a nice modern clinic in a good location near the PATH train, with a lab in the same building, a pleasant young female physician who happened to be Indian, and she recommended an array of specialists to help with with the various functions I would have to have checked over the next year.

I had the colonoscopy she recommended, the physical therapy she prescribed for a frozen shoulder, the routine gyn exam, and sought her out for my followup appointment. Couldn't find her. I tried the Internet but only found her name in some old records of medical meetings she had participated in a few years ago. Went to the modern clinic and found its doors closed.

Before the end of the year I was able to find her name associated with a clinic in North Bergen, so I found her there. She told me the hair-raising story of the Hoboken clinic; one of its lead doctors had had a nervous breakdown and closed the place down in one fell swoop. Lawsuits were still being waged by the principals, but, as a paid employe she was required to find work elsewhere. She would soon be leaving the Bergen place for her practice in Manhattan.

In the meantime, all of the doctors she recommended to me had left Hoboken. I went to one who had been recommended by one of my old-Hoboken friends, and we had a nice meeting last week.

He prescribed a routine blood screening and said the hospital would do it on a walk-in basis, but I'd have to be fasting. Having had this done in the past, I decided to go first thing this morning. I just got back, but there was a little adventure involved.

The hospital is a nice walk from my apartment on Willow Street, and the weather was fine for it. I had my prescription and all my insurance cards. When I got to the admissions desk, the admitting agent rejected me on the basis that the hospital does not do routine screenings. I asked who did and she said she didn't know.

"Maybe one of those clinics," was her only recommendation.

I walked out hungry and disappointed, thinking sometimes it's no fun living in a small town. Then I began to devise a plan. I'd call my doctor when his office opened at 12:30 and tell them I needed to find a clinic that did routine screenings. By now I was at the corner of Willow and Sixth and I saw a sign on a door that said, "Medical Laboratory." It was open, there was a nice nursey person behind a desk, and when I told her my problem she said, "We can do that. All we need is your prescription and your insurance papers." It turns out "we" was just her, and she did the work for me in five minutes.

I left feeling very happy, bought myself an orange juice at the corner grocery at Willow and 9th, and came home to write of my first adventure of the day. Now to rustle up some breakfast!


Hoboken kid said...

Finding a doctor is easy. Finding a good doctor takes some skill. I recommended DR ROCCO on 9th and Garden. He was my boyhood friend. I wonder if he is still there. If so, maybe he can find a lady doctor for you, I'm sure.

The Roccos are old friends of Sinatra...he used to visit there in the old days often.

As for me, my doctor just retired and don't keep an office anymore. He just makes house calls. DOCTORS DONT DO THAT ANYMORE, but mine does. How lucky I am

I hope you find a doctor that is close to you and very skilled at what she does.

Mary Lois said...

I don't think Dr. Rocco is still practicing, at least not in Hoboken. I looked him up before when you recommended him. Couldn't find him.

If anybody knows his whereabouts, make a comment here please! Slezak and I would like to know.

In the meantime, I'm okay for the moment with the doctor Downtown Chick recommended.

Hoboken kid said...

Dr. Rocco's office was next to 924 Garden Street in the basement...a short walk from where you live. Next to 924 Garden on the other side is now a large garage. He would be in his late 70s...most likely hes retired too, BUT MAYBE NOT.