Ratings for Dr. Toby A. Ritterhoff
I'm surprised it was so easy to get an appointment with her because she is great! She had a great bedside manner and is pretty warm and fuzzy. She listened really well to my concerns and explained everything that she was going to do or was doing during my physical. She was open to/supportive of my choice of birth control and told me just to call if I ever decided that didn't work for me and we'd try something else. She also made small talk - something else I appreciate during a physical because it's not the most fun place to be. I'm so glad I went to Dr. Ritterhoff!
I was being seen to replace my Mirena IUD. From the first interaction with Dr. Ritterhoff she was off-standish. She asked me why I was there today and I told her to replace my Mirena. She then said "you had the original one placed in October of 2008" and then she condescendingly proceeded to count on her fingers one at a time as if I were a child "2009, 2010, 2011, etc." to demonstrate to me that I'd had the Mirena for 6 years. She said in a very unfriendly judgmental tone "you know they are only effective for 5 years right?" and asked me what I had been doing for contraception the past year. (I think it is important to note that what I have been doing for contraception for the last year is irrelevant to the purpose of my visit, which was to get contraception for the future). I explained to her that 1) a previous dr. had explained to me that although the FDA had only officially approved a Mirena's use for 5 years, that studies show it is effective for closer to 7 years ; 2) I hadn't had a period since getting the IUD and was still not having periods the last year, 3) that my partner has such low sperm count that he is essentially infertile and we had to use IVF to get pregnant 7 years ago so the chance that I would get pregnant even IF the IUD stopped working was very very low. She did not once give me any nonverbal affirmation or engage with me in any way less than judgmental attitude. Dr. Ritterhoff then asked me if I "knew how the procedure worked." After expressing concerns that I hadn't been there before (which the reception knew when they scheduled the appt. and just had me send my pap results) she went on to say that in addition to those concerns that she was going to require I get a blood pregnancy test. I told her that I was declining a pregnancy test as I felt it was unnecessary. She then told me that she would not replace my IUD unless I agreed to a pregnancy test. I was completely floored. (Again, when scheduling the appointment no one said it was a requirement to take a pregnancy test). I told her i was disappointed in that nothing about my interaction with her had been women-centered. That I expected her to respect my knowledge of myself and my choices about my health and what I needed from my visit and rather than doing any of those things she had been judgmental and condescending and was now refusing to give me an IUD. I also told her that I had just had a physical a month ago in which they did a litany of blood tests and would have told me if I was pregnant. She said that she was not refusing to give me the IUD but just requiring that I agree to a pregnancy test. She said she would still insert the IUD today and I didn't have to wait for the pregnancy test results to have it inserted. I asked her to explain why she felt it was necessary that I have a pregnancy test. Then she told me that she needed to do a pregnancy test because since I could be pregnant she did not want to insert anything into my uterus if there could be a developing fetus as it could damage the fetus. I told her that as her patient, her responsibility was to ME and not to a potential developing fetus that I was certain I did not have. I told her further that even if I had a developing fetus inside me that I would have an abortion so I did not care about any potential "damage" to this imaginary fetus. And finally I pointed out to her that her position was contradictory in that she said she would give me the IUD BEFORE the test results were back thereby she would have already damaged the fetus by the time she got the pregnancy test results. She then said that she would require the pregnancy test because she felt obligated to follow a "standard of care." I responded that I am certain that patients decline doctors "standard of care" recs all the time. And that I was declining her rec for a pregnancy test. That given what I had already told her, I was certain I was not pregnant and this test would be invasive and unnecessary. I also told her that if she was so concerned about the fact that I had been relying on this "expired" IUD for contraception that I didn't understand why she would refuse to give me a new one today. She then said "I'm afraid we don't see eye to eye." in a conclusive tone that she was done discussing this with me. I felt completely disregarded and judged by this doctor. It felt to me as though she believes I have been "irresponsible" with my contraception choices and therefore was forcing me to take a pregnancy test that I did not want nor need for the procedure that I was there for. She did not respect my autonomy or trust that I could make the best decisions for my healthcare. She engaged in a power struggle with me over an unnecessary test which she legitimized by elevating an imaginary potentially developing fetus' rights over mine. I am floored and shocked and disappointed. And, I still don’t have a new IUD.
Dr. Toby A. Ritterhoff's Credentials
Accepting New Patients
- University Of Maryland School Of Medicine (Grad. 1986)
Areas of Expertise
Awards & Recognitions
Publications & Research