DEAR ABBY: I recently began going to a new doctor after the one I had been using retired. I like her. She shows a genuine interest in my well-being, seems to diagnose well and I get good results from her treatments. She doesn't keep me waiting and has a charming, warm personality.
So what's the problem? She's not very clean. There is sometimes dirt under her fingernails. Her white coat is tattered and filthy, and when she gets close there's an odor that's less than pleasant. Once after touching me, she washed her hands by sticking her fingertips under cold water for a few seconds -- no soap or scrubbing. She had not washed before touching me.
There are so many good things about her I hate to lose her as a doctor. She'll be insulted if I say anything. If I cancel an appointment, it will raise questions and lead to hurt feelings. What do I do? -- FREAKED OUT IN ALBANY
DEAR FREAKED OUT: Find another doctor. (I was tempted to say, "Run for your life!") As warm, charming, caring and attentive as your doctor may be, her poor hygiene is a danger to your health. That she would present herself to patients in the condition you have described and practice such poor hygiene makes me wonder how qualified she is to practice medicine.
One other thing you should consider doing -- because you like her -- is to write her a letter explaining why you won't be seeing her anymore. She obviously needs a wake-up call.