Ratings for Dr. Joe C. Zuerker
I've had 3 esophageal endoscopy performed by him for my Barrett's Esophagus only because I thought he was the best. My 1st procedure he seemed to almost scold me for having to perform the procedure. I thought maybe I'm catching him on a bad day. My 2nd procedure...right before I go under his nurse says something very rude to me. 3rd procedure I didn't want done, but it was an endoscopy that needed to be done and they called him because he was my last GA Dr. He was pissed that I smiled at him in the ER, scolded me for it and making him come do the procedure. SORRY for making you do your job which is what you signed up for to be a dr. He seems to always have a poor attitude and not sure if he truly knows what he is talking about. He questioned initially if I had Barrett's Esophagus. If you want someone with good manners...He's not the guy.
For 1.5 years post gallbladder removal I was in severe pain. My original GI doc couldn't figure out the issue, so I went to Dr Z for a second opinion. He told me the pain was all in my head, nothing was wrong. 6months later, a surgeon did exploratory surgery and found my adhesions. THAT was not in my head. My liver had fused to my dieodenum, one the adhesion was removed I had immediate relief.
In 2004 Dr. Zuerker did a colonoscopy & EGD (esophageal gastroduodonoscopy) on me. I had moderately severe rheumatoid arthritis for many years, & had been on narcotic pain relievers. I told him this when I first met him. For the colonoscopy, which I greatly feared because I had been sodomized as a child & could not cope with even brief digital anal exams, he gave me Stadol, Versed, and Benadryl IV. Stadol is an artificial drug called a narcotic agonist-antagonist which cancels out any narcotics in the patient's system. Bad choice to use for someone who was on narcotics for years. Furthermore, Versed was a bad choice because of another drug I had been on for many years: Fentanyl pain patches. I was terrified on the treatment table & very wide awake, with a high blood pressure of 190's/110's from sheer terror. Dr. Z. insisted there was no more medicine that could be given & proceeded with the colonoscopy. I was screaming in pain and fear, yet he continued. I reached back at one point, taking him by the shoulder & insisted he stop. That is every patient's right, to refuse a treatment or test. Someone told me to stop screaming because I was scaring patients in the waiting room! Finally it was over. He continued with the EGD, with which I had no trouble. In the recovery room, this doctor informed me that he would only ever do a colonoscopy on me if I were under general anesthesia. As if I would EVER let this brutal, inhumane, ignorant man near me again! His written report sent to my family doctor even stated twice "while screaming throughout the procedure ". What kind of doctor would be stupid enough to put on paper evidence of his incompetence? If he had used the proper medications for a narcotic-dependent patient, I would not have suffered & been further traumatized. My adult children staying with me at home told me I had screaming nightmares for the next 4 nights. His tests showed a cellular problem in my esophagus, called Barrett's Essophagus, that would require follow-up EGDs every couple years. I also had pan (total) diverticulosis of the colon, which would need to be checked on, and changes in diet to avoid painful and dangerous diverticulitis. I received no such teaching. Fortunately, as a Master's prepared Critical Care RN, I could research & take care of that myself. However, I did get a lasting "gift" from Dr. Z. that may be fatal. I could not manage to do another colonoscopy, even with a different Christian doctor who was competent, knowledgeable, and kind. I had scheduled the colonoscopy & EGD with this angel Dr. Deborah Blalock. Because diverticulosis is pockets throughout the colon, the prep to clean out the colon was not effective enough. We made a plan for a different prep & scheduled the tests for April 2017. Just the colon prep was causing me great anxiety, even though Dr, Blalock planned to put me under general anesthesia for the actual test. I finally realized that as an informed adult, I could choose not to have the colonoscopy at all & accept any consequences, & just have the EGD. Dr. Blalock respected my choice with no problem. When I woke up from the anesthesia, she held my hand as she informed me that I had a large, suspicious looking mass in the middle third of my esophagus, & that she would put me on her prayer circle. I was shocked. Two days later she called with the biopsy report that the mass was malignant - I have cancer of the esophagus. After a PET scan the tumor is staged at 3-N2, meaning it is advanced and in 2 lymph nodes. I was given a 20% survival score, I had NO symptoms or risk factors for this. The tumor is not in the lower third where the Barrett's Esophagus is & was at risk to turn cancerous. I cannot help but feel that this tumor would have been found MUCH sooner when it would have been more easily treated & cured if I had not been so traumatized by Dr. Zuerker! If I had had the exams more frequently, it would have been found sooner. I admit my part in not following through, but I cannot adequately explain how horrible that colonoscopy was, & it took all my courage to even consider doing it again. So here I am having just completed two types of radiation therapy (Proton and photon) & chemotherapy. I have spasms now of the esophagus & must be careful not to eat too much at a time. All my hair fell out, & even at 65 years old, I was just beginning to have a touch of grey at the temples. Ah, vanity thy name is woman! I will have another PET scan in a few weeks to see what all this poisoning & nuking accomplished. The possible surgery is, as quoted by my wonderful chemo oncologist, horrendous, & he isn't sure I could survive it. I have asked my Father in Heaven for enough quality time to complete some family history, & for the grace to be "a big girl" & not whine about how nauseated I am, etc. I have been blessed with fantastic care providers. I forgive Dr. Zuerker, but that doesn't mean anyone should use this uncaring man.
follow up from 4/9/09 report.Daughter is now 21 and thriving without any signs of yeast.Continues her probiotic regimen that this doc said was poison.Never had anorexia although this doc was SURE she did.He misdiagnosed her and said there was NO WAY she had yeast in her system. Said that because of her weight loss, she was an anorexic and I was in denial. In his words "if she had yeast in her esophagus, she'd be drooling and in constant pain from the yeast.Only aids and cancer patients get yeast in their esophagus." WRONG.Argued that he didn't prescribe a med for 3 weeks when I'm holding the bottle in my hand showing proof.Scary.What kind of doc thinks probiotics are poison? Avoid this Doc.May appear nice but doesn't have a clue.Rather have a knowledgeable doc that doesn't misdiagnose than a doc that will hold my hand and misdiagnose. Apparently,he has a reputation with other docs in his field as incompetent.
My experience with Dr. Z was not as pleasant. My first colonoscopy I woke up and looked up at the monitor. Then he mixed up the test results by showing me someone else’s test results as mine. I woke up on my second colonoscopy too! In addition, I felt like my regular check-ups were a waste of time and that he was not confident in his answers to my questions. Additionally, I had a problem with his nurse while on a business trip and needed assistance. I communicated four (4) different times that I was out of state and unable to come into the office that week. I felt that this was poor service having to repeat myself four (4) times and each time she insisted in me coming in to the office that week. I said I could come in two (2) weeks from now. Out of frustration of her not acknowledging that I was out of town, I sarcastically asked, “What part of out of state do you not understand”. She hung up on me and when I returned from my trip, I received a letter that I am no longer a patient.
QUACK!My daughter suffered with nausea over the past 8 months & Dr Z performed a esophageal endoscopy.Her nausea caused weight loss.Based on recurrent yeast infections,I began a regimen of natural products recommended by our MD.She began to feel better and put on 10 lbs.I told Dr Z that i thought she had yeast in her esophagus.He quickly dismissed me and told me that he was SURE she was anorexic and that I was in denial.Not surprisingly,the test results showd esophageal yeast.3 weeks of diflucan didn't improve her vaginal yeast infection.Our MD said if the vag yeast was still there,the yeast was still in her esophagus.At follow up appt Dr.Z avoided the anorexic misdiagnosis & said the yeast must b gone coz she didn't have any pain swallowing.SHE NEVER HAD TROUBLE SWALLOWING.He argued that he'd NEVER prescribe 3 weeks of diflucan to her but I have the RX bottle to prove it.He said that probiotics & enzymes were junk & poison.All educated docs understand benefits of probiotics. RUN!!
My husband saw him in the ER and he took excellent care of the whole family. He preformed emergency surgerg and explained everything, afterwards. He even brought me a picture to show me what he was talking about. He sat with me and was very comforting.
Dr. Joe C. Zuerker's Credentials
Accepting New Patients
- Texas Tech University Health Science Center School Of Medicine (Grad. 1981)
Areas of Expertise
Awards & Recognitions
Publications & Research