Describe your experience with North Carolina Center for Reproductive Medicine.
If you don't get a call back within 3 hours of leaving a message call again until you get someone. They are sometimes lax in returning calls, depending on what the call was for. The reception staff, particularly Brenda, are awesome! The nurses and nurse practitioners are mostly (with one notable exception) wonderful caring people who truly listen. Such a shame their doctor doesn't do likewise.
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
His PA took one look at my age, said that she thought I was too old and that he would refuse treatment. He came in and started to list all the reasons a woman of my age couldn't carry a pregnancy without taking into account my family history of older women as mothers, or the fact of my wife being my donor. He simply ploughed ahead with his own agenda, and in the end, despite us jumping through all his hoops, passing his tests and a cardiological exam, he still pulled the plug a week or so before our cycle was due to begin - this /after/ we had paid out of pocket for all his diagnostic testing.
Describe your experience with your nurse.
Folita was very open and a good communicator on the few occasions we saw her, during our 'class' and when we asked questions of her. It was wrong that it was given to her to pass on Dr Toma's decision. He should have made that call himself, rather than expect her to make that telephone call.
What specific things went wrong at this clinic?
- Lost paperwork
- Failed to call with results
- Lost results
- Provided conflicting information
- Failed to convey critical information
How was your experience with Sameh Toma?
Our first impression of him was that he was rude, dismissive and sarcastic. We are a same sex couple and planned on co-pregnancy, using my (younger) wife's eggs, with me carrying the pregnancy. He took no notice of this at first - not really until we practically 'beat him round the head' with the information. He walked into the room and his first words to us were, "Well I guess you've heard the bad news?" in an overly cheery voice completely lacking in anything even approaching compassion. When we finally got him to 'listen' to us, he relented slightly and listed all the tests that we would have to have/pass before we could proceed. The first of those was for me to be seen by a cardiologist to ensure my heart was strong enough to carry a pregnancy. I was referred to a local cardiologist (of his choice) where I had a stress echo test which revealed that my heart/condition of my heart was normal. The cardiologist said we could go ahead and she would inform Dr Toma. On the assumption that NCCRM would inform us whether that clearance had been received, we made (and were allowed to make) appointments for a) psych eval, b) Donor eval/sonogram for my wife (who is technically my donor), c) education classes regarding medication and administration of medication and d) saline ultrasound for me. He then said he had not seen the cardiologist report and he would 'need to.' but still sent us from the office with prescription for birth control, to synchronize my cycle with my wife's so we could have simultaneous procedures. I had to chase the cardiology report - there was no follow up on the part of NCCRM - and a week, perhaps 2 after I know the report was sent to them (the receptionist called me to tell me they had it), I had a call AT WORK from one of the clinical staff who told me that he had 'advised against' proceeding with the cycle. No one could or would give me more information than to tell me that it was due to the words 'high risk pregnancy' being a part of the cardiologist report, (I've since spoken with her, and she informed me she was basically quoting statistics in that part of her report not referencing me personally). Dr Toma wanted us to come into the office (and presumably pay another almost $200 consultation fee) just for him to tell us no to our faces. We declined/refused that appointment, as we feel that based on our previous experiences with him (numbering 2 occasions we had seen him), he would just continue to be uncompassionate, obstructive, dismissive and rude. When I went in for my Saline Ultrasound, and he came into the room, he did not knock at all, (and could have potentially exposed me to others in the facility had I not been covered), almost knocked my wife over with the door, he opened it so abruptly, and was terse, asking questions to which he had already received the answers, all while conducting the ultrasound. He was not at all gentle... inserting the speculum without warning, manipulating the internal ultrasound want roughly, and generally demonstrating little care or compassion. I felt like a piece of meat. We paid out of pocket for all of this testing, and feel that he knew very well he was going to say no, from the outset, no matter the outcome of the tests, so as well as feeling emotionally brutalized, we also feel financially cheated, and taken advantage of.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Sameh Toma?
Seek another doctor, do not use him.
Describe the protocols Sameh Toma used in your cycles and their degree of success.
We did not get so far as to begin any cycles, just the 'diagnostic' testing. Donor ultrasound, and saline ultrasound for the recipient.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Sameh Toma.
It was all out of pocket for us. Initial consult $165, a whole day of testing, psych evaluation and class $465 and Saline ultrasound $450