Meeting my NEW new Cardiologist…finallyby Angie

11 Jan 2008
2:01 pm

So, rather than going to Dr. Anne Dubin (as Dr. Etheridge receommended), I have been referred to Dr. Daniel Murphy of the Stanford Adult Congenital Cardiology Clinic. Initially, being referred to a new doctor all over again was discouraging. We were worried (as faithful readers of past blog posts will recall) that our insurance was going to put up a fuss since, of course, Stanford is out of network for our medical group. I was not looking forward to more weeks of phone calls, forms, and letters in order to get another new doctor approved. I decided, before starting back at the beginning, to try sending an email to the Nurse Practitioner/Office Manager for the Clinic explaining my situation. Well, I went out on a limb and tried something new and different and – wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles – we found a friend with the best news we could get: Andrea wrote me back within two days and said,

“The American College of Cardiology has specific recommendations regarding the care of Adults with Congenital Heart Disease. They were established at the Bethesda Conference in 2000. Here is a link you might find useful …This means that your insurance needs to follow these guidelines or they are not adhering to current standards of care.”

Basically, the Conference established that anyone with congenital heart defects must be given the opportunity to be treated at an Adult Congenital Clinic. Any insurance that denies coverage for that opportunity is denying a basic necessity and right to that patient. Furthermore, she told me not to worry about the insurance on their end – she would take care of the approval process! She has been amazing, really.

So, already quite pleased with Stanford, I finally got to meet Dr. Murphy. Though very friendly and considerate, he is – in practice – very different from Dr. Etheridge. He did not seem as interested in individual symptoms, but more concerned with the overall picture of my general health: exercise, diet, hygiene, moods, habits, & hobbies. Maybe that’s just because this was his initial consultation with me. He feels that I am stronger since the surgery and that he wants me stronger still. Rather than, “Do as much as you feel up to,” his injunction was, “Do as much as you possibly can.” He is also different from Dr. Etheridge in his opinion on Coumadin: he puts just about every fontan patient on it, even when they don’t have extra risk factors (which I do). He hasn’t prescribed it yet, but he basically warned me that I should expect it eventually. I am not excited about it. Very not.

Overall, though, he seems really great and I’m glad to be working with such a supportive clinic. Our visit prompted a family council about goals and now I am back to doing light Pilates exercises every day. The first and foremost thing I’ve learned from Dr. Murphy so far is that my health is up to me. …I haven’t felt like that about it for a long time, but it’s a good feeling.

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  1. Rebecca
    2:30 PM on January 12th, 2008

    I am glad that you found a doctor you can work with. It is so hard to find someone you like. We have gotten very lazy and just go to the urgent care clinic for everything. If one of my children suddenly has a chronic health problem I don’t know what I’m going to do.

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