Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Down in the mouth (edited)

My toothache started up again on about 10 February, and was so maddeningly painful that I made an emergency appointment with my local dentist on 14 February. This proved to be my first mistake because, although Welcare Clinic Mirdif is ‘in the network’, it turns out that dental cover is through reimbursement only. So much for the all-singing and all-dancing new and improved medical insurance.

The dentist looked, x-rayed, and agreed that the tooth was cracked and the gum underneath was infected and inflamed, hence the excruciating agony. She prescribed mild painkillers and comedy antibiotics, and told me to come back in a few days. She could do nothing until the inflammation had gone down.

I helped out the painkillers with overdoses of what I could find in the medicine cabinet to dull the pain, and at last got some sleep.

Having got rid of me for a few days, the dentist took more x-rays on 19 Feb and ground the top off the tooth so I didn’t press on it when chewing. It would have to come out.

Glory Hallelujah! I have been saying this every few years since about 1979. Long-term readers of this blog who have elephantine memories may remember this polemic.

She made me an appointment with an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. He couldn’t be arsed to look on the Welcare Clinic Mirdif computer system for the x-rays and insisted on taking more, including a gloriously-named orthopantomogram for some unfathomable reason. All at my expense, of course. And then made an appointment for me to come in and have the offending Lower Right Seven and its impacted neighbour dug out.

So when I turned up at the clinic on 8 March expecting surgery, I was less than impressed to learn that no such appointment was recorded on Welcare’s system and Dr Vinod was in fact on holiday for three weeks. The receptionist assured me that the absence of an appointment was my fault, and came within a gnat’s todger of suggesting that the dentist had not made the appointment as I alleged he’d told me, and that I was lying. No, Welcare couldn’t suggest an alternative dental surgeon. Perhaps I would like to make an appointment for after Dr Vinod’s return in about three weeks.

I don’t think so. Goodbye Welcare, for ever. I am currently making enquiries pertaining to an alternative means of having those troublesome things removed from my head. If I’d known this was going to happen, I’d have accompanied Keefieboy on his recent inexpensive and successful dental experience.

Would I recommend Welcare? Based on my experience of booking appointments when doctors aren't going to be there; not letting me see a doctor until over an hour after my appointment was due (because the previous customer was an hour late); telling me my condition wasn’t covered by insurance and refusing to check (it was covered, actually); booking an appointment and then sodding off on holiday; probably not. In fact, I'd recommend a policy of total avoidance.

Edited 16 March to add...

After emailing my letter of complaint to Dr Vinod and the management of Welcare Clinic, I received apologetic phone call, voice mail, SMS and email. Essentially, the Doctor had been called away on emergency leave for a couple of days. He was unable to explain why my appointment had been lost, neither could he figure where the estimate of three weeks vacation had come from.

So I went back and had the offending teeth pulled out as various pieces of shrapnel.

I also had the chance to voice my concerns about Welcare’s management face to face with the said management. Most of the problem appears to be with the front desk; I have little or no issues with the actual medical part of the medical process.

But as I was at pains to point out, the front desk is the first point of contact for a customer. It is also the last point of contact, and will provide the lasting impression when someone leaves. So it is imperative that this front desk is not populated by folk who don’t know what they’re doing.

Does Welcare have a resident proctologist who could perhaps take a rocket and do the needful?



Keefieboy said...

Well, if you have any free time coming up...

Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

Reasonable dentist down at the RAK Bank Center, Midriff.

Gerry said...

and that, ladies and gentlemen, is uae customer service in a nutshell.

(sorry about your teeth, man....)

Grace @ Sandier Pastures said...

Oh man, the worst of all physical agony is a toothache!! I wish you find a good dentist/clinic soon. And thanks for the warning.

I highly recommend Dr. Caron, French doctor at the Versailles Clinic in Health Care City. He must be the gentlest of all dentists I know and very professional (highly skilled).

alexander... said...

I only once had a tooth removed, at Al Zara. She was a Scottish lady, specialised in paediatrics. So she was my kind of dentist - kind and soft on pain.

Once she'd taken it out, she went and made me a cup of sweet tea because, she said, I was "looking a bit peaky."

Like I say. My kind of dentist...

Tumbit said...

After reading this post I am convinced that I should delay my once per decade trip to the Dentist.


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