How some doctors “care” for patients, under the Sign of the Mask

From a friend:

I suffer from the same immune condition as this woman, and I can barely wear one of the paper masks even outside for more than a block. Read what this poor woman went through in a doctor’s office. There are so many medical reasons why those of us with special conditions cannot wear masks.

I’ll apologize in advance for this long rant but I’m still reeling from the events of yesterday and know I am among friends here. I had a 9:30 appt with my cardiologist (associated with Penn Medicine, Philadelphia) for an annual appointment. I arrived at 9:15 as instructed to complete paperwork, if any. The receptionist “signed me in” and I took a seat in the waiting room among a couple of other patients. Several other people came in to be signed in and I could feel the headache start. (My first symptom.) At 9:45, I went to the receptionist and said I needed to wait outside. She said when I came back in, I could not wear the mask I had on but would need to wear one of their “approved” ones because the one I was wearing only protected me, not others. (It’s a DeBrief me with valve and N99 filter.) I told them I cannot wear the paper masks they offered because they had been sitting in an area sprayed with disinfectant and handled by someone wearing a hand sanitizer which I could not tolerate breathing in. I explained about having a filter in the mask but they didn’t care. I was told I would not be seen by the doctor unless I wore their mask. I asked them what would happen if I passed out because of having to wear their mask and, after shrugging of shoulders, was told I should find another doctor. Not only was I humiliated by the cloth mask-wearing receptionist who was joined by the office manager who did most of the talking and another girl who was bare-handling the paper masks she was trying to stuff in an envelope to give me – but mortified, due to my anxiety by this time, that I raised my voice enough to be a spectacle for the other patients in the waiting room. I wish I could find who to write to at Penn Medicine but they are such a huge conglomerate that I’ve been unsuccessful so far. However, there is hope with sending a letter to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health.

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