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Dismissed at Urgent Care

I had one of the worst medical experiences of my life yesterday! We have all been treated like our disease is not real or not given the “respect” as an actual neurological disease; however, yesterday a doctor belittled me to tears.

I have suffered from chronic migraines for nearly 30 years. I have seen many specialists and am currently taking preventative meds, abortive meds, vitamins, hydration measures, you name it. Yesterday, after suffering from a migraine for 3 days, I decided to take action and have a friend take me to Urgent Care. I rarely do this. I hate the judgement and proving my pain to people. I handle the pain on my own. However, yesterday I decided that my medications just were not working and I needed to be able to get back to my life. I filled out my paperwork, paid my co-pay, did an initial intake (triage) with a nurse where I broke down a little in tears from the exhaustion, then they put me in a room and a male doctor and his student came in. The doctor had his mind made up about me before I spoke. He proceeded to ask about my primary doctor and my medications. The student who was a “headache specialist” who I had to explain what Aimovig was to, just looked at me doe-eyed. And the doctor continued to tell me that there is nothing that they could do for me because I already do everything and have medication. I told him that it’s not working; I’m on day three. He said that I can call my primary doctor or go to an ER. I asked if he knew how much it would cost me to go to an ER and his response was, “there’s nothing I can do about that”. I was stunned. I said there are 35 million people in America with migraines and you do not treat them here?! I realize now that he was shaming me. He thought I was drug-seeking. I have a long history of migraines. Zero history of prescription or substance abuse of any kind. I even offered alternative treatment options (that were non-narcotic, as these two yahoos clearly were not informed of migraine treatments) and nothing. Denied. Sent out the door, after taking my money.

I came for help because that’s what you should do when a migraine is persistent and I was sent on my way worse off then when I came in. I was so upset that I did not go anywhere else. I just wanted to go home. And I did. And cried in pain. And now I’m pissed. No medical staff should be treating people this way. I do not deserve migraine pain (no one does) and I did not deserve to be treated like that!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Erin B author
    3 days ago

    Thank you everyone for your responses. It helps to not feel so alone. After 5 days, I had one good day, then another migraine attack the next. These things are beasts indeed.
    I live in a fairly rural area so my treatment options are limited. I have tried just about every medication known to treat migraines with no success. And due to the opioid crisis no doctor around here will prescribe pain meds.
    I do appreciate all of the support tremendously! There is comfort in knowing that we are not alone.

  • glassmind
    4 days ago

    So sorry to hear you had this experience.

    Even if the center was limited in thier care options, the doctor could have had a much better demeanor.

    With one exception, every time I’ve seen a doctor with a student present, the doctor acted extra “I know everything.” This happens for any ailment I’ve had.

    There is a serious problem in healthcare with providers hiding lack of knowledge or mistakes behind I superioriority complex. It costs people thier lives.

    Again, my sympathy for you.

    Thank you for sharing your story, so that there is greater awareness of the need for providers to be compassionate and courteous at all times, as well as for more treatment options outside of the emergency room.

    I encourage you to talk to your primary doctor about rescue medications in order to avoid this in the future. My initial doctor was dismissive of my migraine (despite claiming to have migraines herself). I was at the e.r. repeatedly. Luckily, that doctor quit, and my new provider at my first appointment with her was willing and able to provide me with prescriptions for rescue medications.

    I hope you have been able to get relief for the persistant migraine.

    Thank you again.

  • emi346
    4 days ago

    @Erin B I’m so sorry. Being dismissed and disbelieved is one of the worst feelings, especially from the people who are supposed to help us. I had a very similar experience and it left me feeling very alone and hopeless. Please know that we’re here for you if you’d like to talk to someone who’s been in a similar position. I’m so sorry this happened to you, sending internet hugs.

  • GardensatNight
    5 days ago

    I’m really sorry that happened to you. And, a “headache specialist” who had never heard of Aimovig?? (hahaha)

    I don’t even try to go to Urgent Care for migraine treatment. Unfortunately, I’ve found there just isn’t anything useful they can do. The ones near me won’t set up IVs and don’t have the drugs on hand to give through infusion to help abort an intractable attack–they just send you to the ER.

    The ER is also a scary prospect because sometimes you get great doctors and sometimes… also every doctor seems to want to reinvent the wheel with how they’re going to treat intractable migraine attacks, and even if you tell them, “no please, not that drug,” or “can you just give me this?” you’re unlikely to be listened to. And then it’s also super $$$$

    If you have an infusion center where you live, they can often administer drugs to break up intractable attacks and depending on your insurance and the type of infusion center, it may be much cheaper than the ER. Your neurologist can send over the prescription for what you need in the event of an intractable migraine attack.

  • Khalid Moomand moderator
    6 days ago

    @Erin B, I am so sorry that you had to experience that! It is extremely disheartening when we find ourselves trying to convince other non-migraineurs what we feel between our ears but even more frustrating when we have to explain it to a trained physician that specializes in headaches. I am sending you some positive thoughts and hope that your abortive meds are kicking in by now. The recent soggy weather has not been helpful to many of us, lately! Keep us updated 🙂

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