Describe your experience with Women & Infants Hospital.
The strengths include proximity - it's close to downtown Providence and open on the weekends. The administrative staff is ok - depends on who you get. Their dedicated financial counselor, however, was also unkind. Despite trying IUI twice, she never did meet with us as requested to go over the cost of IVF or anything else. It was super frustrating.
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
The first appointment, when my spouse and I were still trying to decide if we were going to move forward, Dr. Wheeler brought us in for what we thought was just an initial consultation. However, during the appointment, she referred to us as "my gays" as in, I love my gays - more options - which would seem to be kind, but felt...really hostile. I know, I know - that's subjective, but she also wrote a LONG paragraph on her professional site describing her relationship to church and religion - not exactly what we were looking for. She didn't want to answer ANY of our questions and would simply avoid or re-direct. It was really confusing and frustrating.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
Some of the nursing staff made racially charged comments surrounding the election and about Muslim Americans in our presence, which was extremely uncomfortable. We were speaking amongst ourselves about the upcoming Women's March in Washington, and the nurse became extremely upset and started ranting about "Those muslims" and those "Angry muslims" ect. This was WHILE she was taking blood in anticipation of our first IUI. It was shocking and disgusting. She also made it clear that she had only recently come to accept gays - I don't remember the specific comment, but something like "I try to accept all lifestyles" etc., which is basically code for "I think your love is a lifestyle, like eating vegan or partying a lot, i.e., not for me, but I guess you shouldn't be persecuted for it". Not a comfortable experience.
What specific things went wrong at this clinic?
- Failed to inform you of changes in protocol
- Provided conflicting information
How was your experience with Carol Wheeler?
I felt as though Dr. Wheeler held back in terms of what to expect, and wouldn't commit to any outcome or even discuss the chances, aside from saying "well, you're older, so..." Not the best bed side manner, not the most LGBT friendly. Our first visit, she separated us physically, without telling us why and then informed me that I was going to have a gynecological exam - not by her, but by a male doctor. It was extremely upsetting as I felt I was coerced and did not have the chance to consent - in addition, they wouldn't allow my same sex spouse in the room, which is standard protocol. This made me feel even more nervous, like he had a reason for not allowing them to provide me support. Overall, it was a horrid, horrid experience.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Carol Wheeler?
Be extremely assertive - insist on knowing BEFORE you come in what to expect, especially in terms of gynecological exams. I asked for data on the clinic and was denied = she wouldn't tell me or discuss. I asked for reasoning behind trying natural cycles (I was over 40) and wasn't given an answer. I asked for what she thought my chances were and she just said "the same as other women your age"?? What does that mean? No idea. I'm not the specialist - she is, but we never received any specific information.
Describe the protocols Carol Wheeler used in your cycles and their degree of success.
She insisted we try two cycles naturally. By the second try, we were ready to move on to another clinic, based on how uncomfortable we were made to feel by multiple people.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Carol Wheeler.
250.00 per IUI