If I Can Find It, Why Can’t You?

Maureen Miller, Administrator
Joslin Diabetes Center
3229 East Genesee Street
Syracuse, NY 13214

Dear Ms Miller,

I am writing to file a specific complaint against Tulsi Sharma and a general complaint about the Joselin process.

Who is Tulsi Sharma? I have seen her twice at Joslin however I now find that she is not listed on your web site either as a physician or as staff. She was identified to me as a fellow. MyChart identifies her as an M.D. Other Upstate sites report her to have an MBBS, which may or may not be an equivalent of a doctorate in medicine, all depending on the country and university of origin. Substituting an M.D. for an MBBS is fraudulent.

Ms Sharma’s on-line Upstate profile says she has been at Upstate for five years. Doing what? I have never heard of a five-year fellowship. There is no other information provided about Ms Sharma—no country of origin, medical school attended, internship or residency served, research participated in or anything else. Based on her relationship with me, she could be just a secretary who’s paid attention.

Ms Sharma has elected to address me by my first name. In fact, I am two generations older than her and deserving of respect, which she does not offer. I am offended.

There are multiple minor examples of her not paying attention and not thinking, e.g., looking at my chart and asking who is Patrick Smith when it clearly states that he is a DDS, and posting “palpitations” to my chart when I never, ever, complained of them. All this adds up to me having no respect or trust in her ability to make reasonable and accurate observations about my status.

At my first appointment I presented with a glucose of 570; my follow-up appointment was not scheduled for two months. I think that is grossly poor doctoring. When I inquired about that, I was told that seeing the educator in the interim would compensate for no doctor’s appointment.

I have a dozen chronic illnesses including myalgic encephalomyelitis, diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus, chronic kidney disease and sleep apnea. I have an indwelling catheter, travel by power wheelchair and am unable to work outside the home. I am really sick.

At the appointment with educator Kate Obrien, we discovered that Ms Sharma had referred me for hypoglycemia. My average glucose is around 450, I am taking no medications and I was referred by Sharma for hypoglycemia? As sick as I am, Sharma dragged me out of bed for this? Ms Obrien was puzzled; I was infuriated.

At my first appointment with Sharma, Dr. Kelly came in as the attending. I explained to them that my most serious problem is myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), known locally as chronic fatigue immune deficiency syndrome (CFIDS) or simply chronic fatigue syndrome. I had researched on the Internet and found two reports of medical research published in 2012 that had been done on the subject of CFIDS and glucose. I passionately asked Dr. Kelly and Sharma to do the same research and tell me what it said. I do not speak medicalese; I needed the doctors to educate themselves on my rare condition and how it impacted my devastatingly high glucose.

ME/CFIDS is a neuroimmune disease (see attached). I have been unable to get any appointment with a neurologist. At the educator’s appointment, Ms Obrien went to talk to Dr. Kelly and came back to report that Dr. Kelly would do a referral to a neurologist, and that she did not have time that day to talk to me about ME/CFIDS.

There has been no follow-up on the neurological referral that was supposed to have been done.

My next appointment at Joslin was March 26 at 2:00 p.m. for thirty minutes. I showed up on time; Sharma was ten minutes late, therefore blowing one-third of our scheduled appointment. She handed me two articles on chronic fatigue syndrome as if she was doing me a favor. Her attitude was that the patient wanted this information. Fact: I wanted a doctor to look at the literature.

One article was an undated two-pager from “Special Concerns for Women”; the other was dated 2002. Do you have any idea how much research has been done and how much has been learned in the twelve years since this article was written? When I asked Sharma what the article said about CFIDS and glucose, she didn’t know. She admitted that she hadn’t read it.

Here are the facts: Sharma was asked to do a literature search of CFIDS + glucose two months ago. She did nothing until the day of my appointment, then she only searched on CFIDS, not glucose, and did not read what she printed.

I cannot begin to describe the extent of my anger. I need a doctor, not a secretary.

In the two months that Sharma did not research my illness, I did. What I found was—
• Dr. David Bell, who was on staff at SUNY Buffalo, did primary research with Dr. David Streeten at SUNY Upstate, and was appointed by the U.S. HHS secretary to chair the CFIDS advisory committee.
• The International Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, which published the “ME/CFS Primer for Clinical Practitioners” in 2012.
• Dr. Sarah Myhill’s “Diagnosing and Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” Practicing in Great Britain since 1982, she has treated about 5,000 patients who have chronic fatigue.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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