Dr. Chung is competent and confident, but very, very conservative. Despite being a DOR patient, I was repeatedly suppressed with hormonal birth control, which led to very poor response. Estrogen priming, a standard protocol for those with DOR, was never even mentioned (I had to switch clinics to even find out it existed). Last we heard from him, he was pushing us toward donor eggs...
Surly receptionists. Unavailable nurses — and forget ever contacting the doctor. Long, long wait times, even when we arrived at like 6 AM on a weekday. No one [at Weill Cornell Medical College] ever bothers to learn your name or even glance at your chart before seeing you, so you get traumatized by mangled versions of your diagnoses. After retrieval, nurses loudly announce how many eggs they got out of your body as you're still woozy from anesthetic, so a DOR patient like me got to hear that the woman next to her had 20 eggs retrieved.
How was your experience with Pak Chung at Weill Cornell Medical College?
Dr. Chung is competent and confident, but very, very conservative. Despite being a DOR patient, I was repeatedly suppressed with hormonal birth control, which led to very poor response. Estrogen priming, a standard protocol for those with DOR, was never even mentioned (I had to switch clinics to even find out it existed). Last we heard from him, he was pushing us toward donor eggs.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Pak Chung at Weill Cornell Medical College?
Don't go to him if you have DOR.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Pak Chung at Weill Cornell Medical College?
Dr. Chung was very nice at first, but how he treated us in visits was inversely proportional to our ability to pay. While we still had savings, he treated us courteously (though was often rushed or late — an hour late on average for each appointment). However, after our savings ran out and it became clear we were in dire financial straits, he stopped responding to calls and ultimately ghosted us after a failed transfer.
Describe the protocols Pak Chung used in your cycles at Weill Cornell Medical College and their degree of success.
We did the most standard protocol with the highest doses of all medications (Gonal-F and Menopur), over and over again. Once we did a "low-and-slow" Lupron protocol, with poor results. Triggered with HCG each time. Had between a month to two months of hormonal suppression each time because of high day-3 FSH, which led to very poor response. The one time we got decent results was when we got lucky enough to have a low FSH and therefore a natural start, but Dr. Chung seemed very impatient and pushed us not to wait for these possible natural starts but instead to suppress, suppress, suppress. Because he spent much time talking about how Weill Cornell is "the best," we didn't question his decision-making and spent $50k of our own money on treatment. We ended up with 1 PGS/PGD-normal embryo from 5 IVF attempts (one canceled for poor response), and after we transferred it and the transfer failed, Dr. Chung never called us again. We tried to get in touch with him and he never called us back. At that point, we switched clinics.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff at Weill Cornell Medical College.
With the exception of one nurse (whom I will not name here), the nurses ranged from indifferent to utterly incompetent. The most generous way of seeing things, I think, is that they have far too many patients for the number of nurses WC chooses to have on staff, and the result is that basically nothing works. You can never get in touch with the doctor (can leave messages with his assistants but he never once called us back in two years of treatment); but also, it's impossible to get in touch with the nurses. They issue instructions that are unclear; they don't communicate by email, so if you miss their call (for instance, because you're at work), you're SOL. They do things like forget to renew pre-authorizations for drugs or not communicate with the pharmacy, so nine times out of ten we started our cycle with a stressful phone relay to get our drugs to us. When we were first getting diagnosed — a traumatic time due to the severity of my conditions — their intermittent and unclear communication greatly heightened the horror of what we were finding out. The lack of consistency from one time to the next, the long wait times, the inability to ever speak to a specific person more than once, except by chance, all compounded the impression of a cold and disorganized practice. If you are vulnerable or have a difficult diagnosis, if you're not rich enough to command the doctor's attention, or if you need repeated attempts and lots of patience to get a success, steer clear of this place!
Describe your experience with Weill Cornell Medical College.
Surly receptionists. Unavailable nurses — and forget ever contacting the doctor. Long, long wait times, even when we arrived at like 6 AM on a weekday. No one ever bothers to learn your name or even glance at your chart before seeing you, so you get traumatized by mangled versions of your diagnoses. After retrieval, nurses loudly announce how many eggs they got out of your body as you're still woozy from anesthetic, so a DOR patient like me got to hear that the woman next to her had 20 eggs retrieved. Horrible billing department that sent our bills to collections over and over again — even after we had written notification from WC that we were on a payment plan; even after we told them we were out of town for the holidays and couldn't check our mail (returned to 15 collections notices that time!); even after we wrote to the Dean of the Medical College in a last-ditch attempt to get the harassment to stop. After exhausting our entire savings and our $10k of insurance coverage for IVF, we applied for a hardship program WC offers and received the rudest, most ignorant, least compassionate treatment yet from robotic administrators who demanded to see our entire tax record without ever specifying who would be looking at it or how decisions about what constitutes "hardship" are made. Then, we were offered a "payment plan" that took none of our actual financial data into account and would not have been feasible if we wanted to eat or pay rent. We switched clinics mainly because Dr. Chung ghosted us after our transfer failed, but the horrors we experienced at the hands of billing also deserve mention.
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Absolutely ruined our schedule. Long waits no matter how early we showed up. Super rude and surly receptionists who acted like we were garbage.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Pak Chung at Weill Cornell Medical College.
I described this in detail in a different section, but all I can say is, this was perhaps the most horrifying aspect of our care — and I am someone with severe and uncommon fertility problems manifesting on multiple fronts. There is no excuse for how Weill Cornell treats patients in this respect. To add to what I wrote above, we once asked someone over the phone how we make the letters from collections agencies stop, and they said "just disregard them" and then actually laughed at us.
Describe Pak Chung's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Dr. Chung did not seem to have a clear policy on eSET vs. multiple transfer (at least not when it came to our case).
What specific things went wrong at Weill Cornell Medical College?
- Failed to call in prescriptions to pharmacy
- Lost paperwork
- Failed to call with results
- Failed to send your chart to another clinic
- Failed to inform you of changes in protocol
- Provided conflicting information
- Failed to convey critical information
- Failed to consider drug intolerance
Describe the specific things that went wrong at Weill Cornell Medical College.
-We had 2 transfers at the clinic, both failed. After the first pregnancy test, no one bothered to call us with results, so we had to call ourselves. A random doctor called to tell us it was negative. After the second transfer, which had been built up by doctors at the Tribeca and UES clinics as a "sure thing" — we'd been discussing in minute detail how to coordinate early prenatal visits, etc. — we got a phone message that the beta was negative and then nothing at all. No call from any nurse, nothing from our doctor (even after we called his assistant). Just empty space in response to our grief.
-Our pre-authorization for certain drugs lapsed without anyone telling us so; we found out only when we went to order more drugs for an upcoming cycle, at which point it became a huge headache to get things ordered and delivered in time
-Prescribing things in wrong amounts, at the wrong time, forgetting to call in prescriptions altogether; basically, unless we called them over and over and over again, and left angry messages, nothing ever got done
-Repeatedly sending bills to collections even after notifying us in writing that we could pay in pieces; we received countless letters and several harassing phone calls as a result
-Demanding to see our tax information only to propose a "payment plan" we couldn't afford