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Doctor, doctor tell me the news

Nancy K. Sweitzer, MD, PhD
Sarver Heart Center
University of Arizona College of Medicine
Post Office Box 245046
Tucson, Arizona 85724-5046

Dear Dr. Sweitzer:

I spent a lifetime as a newspaper man so I understand intimately the meaning of snafu and fubar. But I have to say the Sarver Heart Center under its new management offered me an entirely new perspective.

For a little short of three decades Dr. Gordon Ewy was my cardiologist. I would put him up for sainthood, but he would not accept. It was a sad day when he retired.

Upon his retirement, I saw nurse practitioner Donner in May last year who noted that I was in fairly good shape. But she left as well. I had an appointment to see her last November. I received a letter in the mail that I had an appointment with someone of whom I had never heard. Didn’t say spit about this doctor being my new cardiologist. Then, I got a call to make an appointment for a scan. But I had no doctor and no Donner. I spoke with someone in your office, described my predicament. She said in semi-hysterical terms she could not help me, and moreover she didn’t know what to tell me. So I muttered some words (old Anglo-Saxon) appropriate to the occasion and decided I could probably do without a cardiologist since my last occurrence of SVT was many years past.

But the mischief of your heartless center casts a long shadow. I had prescriptions that required renewal. Rosemary at Walgreens called to obtain a renewal for a prescription ordered by either Ewy or Donner. She was told I had to make an appointment at the heart center. But I had no doctor, no nurse practitioner, no one with whom I could make an appointment. This was a problem worthy of Doc Daneeka.

I worked around this problem by contacting my primary, Dr. Randall Brown who prescribed the drug.

I would have let it go when it happened again today. But this was too much. Rosemary at Walgreens tried to obtain a renewal for atenolol. Someone named Sisterman at Sarver denied it. Perhaps I should not blame Sisterman because she doesn’t know me from Adam. But when it comes down to it, that’s the point, is it not? Once I was a Sarver patient. I could call the center and speak to an actual responsive human being. For many years it was Isabel, a Noo Yawker who took care of my appointments, offered tasty morsels at her desk and advised me on other matters with great wisdom. When Isabel retired, I could deal with Debbie who was efficient and cheerful. Today I am unknown, and Sarver cares not a whit. By the way, Jack Sarver gave me the loan to buy my first house in Tucson. He was a good man, a good Democrat and easy to reach.

Which is unlike the center that bears his name. I called the Sarver Center today. I could press this number and that, and when I did so was told I could leave a message. I muttered some appropriate words (Anglo-Saxon in origin). I was thinking perhaps I should try to dial you, the director of the Sarver Heart Center, but I had to look you up. I don’t know you from Eve. But I figure you have so many barriers set up between you and the public that I would have better luck speaking to the Pope. In fact, I’m pretty sure I would.

I did not want to let it go this time around, and just indulge my un-unique Anglo-Saxon vocabulary. So please consider this a nasty letter of remonstration and my testimonial that the Sarver Heart Center doesn’t give a rat’s derriere for its patients.


Former patient
(Seriously pissed off)


  1. Bill Waters says:

    ooooh, touche, ma jeune homme; whatta buncha crap the medical so-called profession has become, thanks to its bureaucracy For us, so far, it’s been the alleged care providers, or is it the insurance carriers who have insinuated themselves into Medicare? Glad to hear you’re in shape to tell ’em where to stick it. My dad had suggested that I try to seek a consultation with the expert at UA on my knee some 25-30 years ago. I wrote him, got no reply whatsoever. So I braced it up, played several years of city-league ball up here and can still hobble about digging ditches and trying to clear out a library … It’s enough to make ya wanna cheer for Wisconsin, but not quite. Hope you find an adequate alternative to those frat-rat jerks.

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