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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- A cancer survivor waited months to see a specialist; a wait that she says was too long.
Rita Purkey said she was referred to a kidney specialist after her primary care doctor suspected something was wrong.
"The primary doctor was scared. I was walking around with cancer and I was, for the second time," said Purkey.
A completely different kind of cancer, unknown at the time, and she ran into a different problem.
"We don't have an appointment until four or six months with these doctors. It's just ridiculous when it's something serious," said Purkey.
But there was no way of knowing how serious the problem was without proper testing. So Purkey wanted the test done by the most renowned doctor in the area.
"I asked for this specific doctor because I knew his reputation. When I go to the doctor I do want the best that I can find," said Purkey.
His number of patients makes it hard for scheduler Chris Auville, who said she sees this all the time, not enough doctors for the amount of patients.
"If there's no problems going on, he's going to say put that person in the next available. That could be four months out," said Auville.
Four months out, even when the staff works overtime.
"His schedule has now become eight o-clock in the morning, to nine, 10 o-clock at night. I've had staff here till midnight," said Auville.
Purkey appreciates the time he takes with his patients, but she says waiting for the first appointment could have been life threatening.
"It's just ridiculous the time that you have to wait," said Purkey.
Purkey's doctor was unavailable to comment, but the scheduler was from his practice.
They are hoping to get more doctors at the practice, but having a hard time.
Auville said not as many people are entering the field.
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