Saturday, October 25, 2008

Encountering egotistical physicians? Dr. Alison Toth

It is not always easy to keep advocating when you encounter an doctor who has a very large ego.

I have encountered my fair share of physicians with an ego. Ironically, the two worse physicians have been orthopedic surgeons.

Both Chris Dangles, MD (Carle Clinic Association in Urbana, IL) and Alison Toth, MD (Duke University Medical in Durham, NC) are shining examples that a physician or surgeon can lose clinical judgment, professionalism and ethical standards when they are not able to control their egos.

Chris Dangles, MD: I mentioned to Dr. Dangles that his colleague, Robert Gurtler, MD thought the surgery Dr. Dangles was proposing was inappropriate. Dr. Dangles responded by stating
"Dr. Gurtler is making that statement because he does not know how to do this surgery. I can do the surgery very well."
Alison Toth, MD: I mentioned to Dr. Toth that her colleague, Dr. Diane Scott, MD told me that no surgeon should ever perform the procedure that she was proposing. Dr. Toth responded by having her office manager telephone me and dump me as a patient.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking a surgeon a question. You should ask questions for yourself and for others.

I assure you that the permanent physical damage caused to me by Dr. Dangles and Dr. Toth will not dissuade me from advocating for proper medical care.

I suspect that Dr. Alison Toth was told by someone that the saphenous nerve should not be cut. I suspect that Dr. Toth did not want to tell me that she changed her mind about cutting the nerve. And, for reasons that are known only to Dr. Toth, she chose to dump me as a patient.

In the end, I will (hopefully) get my leg fixed. And I will (hopefully) look back on this "dumping" and be grateful that another surgeon assisted me. Maybe that surgeon will tell me that the nerve should never be cut.

What worries me, in terms of advocacy:

Dr. Alison Toth is a bright, aggressive and persuasive physician.

Dr. Toth is also the team physician for Duke University female sports teams.

Dr. Toth will be treating vulnerable, impressionable, trusting and injured young women athletes.

I hope that my experience with Dr. Toth is an anomaly. But I fear it is not.

I hope that Dr. Toth will actually provide a clinical environment where young female patients can ask questions about their treatment options and their bodies.

My experience with Dr. Toth suggests that such discussions will not happen.


  1. I think your crazy. You were probably dumped for that reason.

  2. I normally do not waste time on people who lack courage to state their full names. especially when they have nothing intelligent to say. However, I make an exception in your case since your lack of basic grammer skills and ignorance of the legal requirements to abandon a patient strongly suggest you are either (1) a hospitalist or (2) a fellow at the Duke University orthpedic program

    Or maybe your [sic per you] "Dr" Toth