Complaint about Dr. Muni K Theertham On Friday, August 22, I received a call from Adrienne M Howard, Family Practice/Nurse Practitioner, whom I’d been seeing for medical issues. She is an employee of Marion General Hospital group [MGH]. She said she had just received the results of some tests she had done for me at MGH the day before and that I needed to come to her office immediately to discuss them with her. My wife, Krista, and I went to her office and met with her. Adrienne told us that she “was surprised that I could get out of bed or even put one foot in front of the other” based upon the results. She said that I needed to go to the hospital immediately to receive four units of blood and that she had already set everything up with the hospital; they had the paperwork from her and were waiting for us. She told us where to go in the hospital and to see Gene Brown, who was in charge of this area. So we went straight to MGH. Once there we discovered that he was not there and no one was aware of me or had any paperwork on me at that time. This is when the problems began. We were taken across the hall from where Gene Brown’s office area is into what appeared to be an intake area by a woman who treated us very kindly and professionally. She asked questions and filled out forms. Then we waited until Dr. Theertham arrived. He was very rude and offensive from the moment of arrival and would not listen to what I told him about why I was there and what Adrienne had learned from the tests she had me take and her concern that I had colon cancer. I told him that she had given me some samples of the drug Vimovo for my back pain. He almost yelled at me not to take them, saying that it was the NSAID drugs I was taking, like ibuprofen, which was causing my problems by creating ulcers. He also said that they would be giving me only two units of blood and not the four which Adrienne had ordered. I was about ready to walk out of the hospital then, but did not due to my concern for my health. My wife, who has a PhD and Public Administration and was a graduate level professor in this field that includes public health care and has experience serving on the county board of health for a quite large county, provided the following report of what then occurred. “I remember that, once Greg told him how much ibuprofen he was taking, the Dr. seemed to jump to the conclusion that ulcers caused by the ibuprofen were responsible for Greg’s problem. He declared that to be his diagnosis and that was when he got cavalier and dismissive about anything else we told him. Had he accessed all the tests Adrienne ran and evaluated, he could have limited his diagnosis. Adrienne’s work soundly refuted his superficial conclusion. When Dr. Theertham walked away, I concluded he was going to access Adrienne’s work, test results and notes. He had not taken the time to read them before seeing Greg. I thought he would then come back to meet with us. We discovered, much later, that he had left the hospital for the day. I couldn’t fathom how superficial, cavalier and dismissive he was! His ’examination’ can hardly be dignified with that term! The CT scan, endoscopy and colonoscopy Adrienne ordered and Greg eventually received confirmed multiple serious problems, including colon cancer, which Dr. Theertham totally missed. These tests also found absolutely no signs of any ulcers!” I was then taken to a room to receive the blood. The hospital employees who attended me there were great: Angie – SN, Abi – my RN and Jenn – top RN. In fact, all of the hospital employees I have dealt with over the past two months have been very good, polite and professional. While still receiving the blood, I asked to file a complaint and Betty Guerin – MSN, RN, house supervisor, came to see me. She was wonderful to speak with, but did not have the authority to resolve anything. She did refer me to Randy Diffenbaugh – patient representative, who was not there and would not return until Monday. I contacted him then and voiced my complaint. He seemed to be understanding on the phone and promised he would look into my complaint and discuss it with Dr. Arun Tewari – hospital program director. I did not hear back from either of them personally, just received a form letter from Randy stating: “Our goal at MGH is 100% customer satisfaction.” To my surprise I later received a bill from the hospital for $281.00 for Dr. Theertham’s bad five minutes of service to me. I then called Randy back to complain about this and requested a formal investigation. I later received a letter from Randy stating that Dr. Tewari – hospitalist program director, had conducted an investigation and met with Dr. Theertham to discuss “how his behavior was perceived by both you and your wife”. Followed by “After careful review, Dr. Tewari felt the related charges resulting from the services Dr. Theertham provided were appropriate.” We find that not only is MDH’s goal of 100% customer satisfaction an absolute farce, but that this whole issue has not been handled professionally! Randy did inform me that Dr. Theertham is part of a contracted staff, like Emergency Room staff, and that only they get to visit patients while in the hospital. Therefore, Adrienne, although being an MGH employee and my healthcare provider, was not allowed to visit me. This policy was set up for the purpose of efficiency. The contracted staff rotates and a patient would not necessarily see the same doctor during a stay in the hospital. This may be efficient for the hospital, but is not in the patient’s best interests, especially when the staff doctor does not even consult with the patient’s care provider’s records! We strongly recommend avoiding Marion General Hospital, based upon our experiences!