Sunday, March 8, 2009

10 Unreasonable Behaviors Your Doctor Should Not Have

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by Lisa Copen - founder of Rest Ministries

Doctors are human and none of them are perfect. It is no secret that they call their profession “the practice of medicine.” Medical errors are one of the leading causes of both death and injury in the United States.

The Institute of Medicine calculates that, due to medical mistakes, anywhere from 44,000 to 98,000 people actually die in hospitals in the U.S. each year. This is more than from motor vehicle accidents or breast cancer.

Regardless of whether you are generally healthy, or live with a chronic illness, you still need a physician you can trust. Though an occasional small mistake may occur, it is especially important that you have a doctor who is eager to be part of your medical team for both short-term and long-term treatment.

Are there some sure signs you shouldn’t listen to your doctor and you should seek a second opinion, or maybe even shop around for a new physician? Definitely!

1. Your doctor is quick to speak and slow to listen, rarely hearing all of your symptoms or asking questions about them. He quickly records his interpretation of what you are saying before you have begun to explain your symptoms or the situation.

2. Your doctor is persistent about prescribing medicines that are recently available. He does not explain what the medication is, why you need it, how will help your situation, long-term effects, or if there is a plan to get you off of it. You can see the promotional items for the medication around his office.

3. Your doctor acts as if he knows less about your condition that even do. You leave the appointments feeling like all you did was report in your latest symptoms while he took notes.

4. Your doctor appears to lack confidence about his ability to care for you effectively, seldom giving you medical advice or directions. Instead, he seems to tell you to do whatever you believe is best or asks, “Well, what do you think we should do in this case?”

5. Your doctor is swift to request tests or procedures that could have a negative bearing on your current health or illness. He doesn’t seem to understand that tests that may be of minor influence on the body of a healthy can be a major factor in your well-being. The best doctor will keep all of your body in mind when making choices about tests, not just the area that he is a specialist for.

6. Your doctor seems to humor you, looks at you as if he doubts your symptoms, and smiles and writes notes. You feel like he is being condescending rather than a part of your medical team.

7. Your doctor refuses to let you see the medical records he has on you and your condition. If you request them he says he will send them to another physician, but he seems to go out of his way to make sure you don’t personally receive them. At some point you may apply for disability financial support and the social security disability review doctors will want to review your medical history. It is important the records are accurate.

8. Your doctor is rarely available when you need his expertise the most. When you need to make an appointment at the last minute for a special reason, he is not available. He is late in approving refills for prescription medications. His office does not return calls and if you page him after hours for an emergency he doesn’t call back for a long time.

9. Your doctor doesn’t believe you are in deep pain. He is stingy with pain medication, even when your pain level is extreme and you have proven to be a responsible patient with pain medications.

10. Your doctor is never open to consulting other medical professionals or faxing his notes over to your other physicians. He thinks he can solve all of your medical needs and feels threatened when you want to consult with another source, specialist, or someone else on your medical team.

The best doctor will listen to you thoroughly, take good notes, explain the benefits and drawbacks of medications, and make you feel like you are an integral part of your medical team.

We may never find the perfect doctor, and it may take a while to find someone who is a good match for both our medical condition and our personality. But don’t allow your health to be risked just because you are too afraid to speak out and be assertive about your health care needs.

This article can be reprinted for free if everything stays “as is” including this footer: Read Lisa’s newest book, Why Cant I Make People Understand? Order at Subscribe to a great weekly ezine HopeNotes and get a free download of 200 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend. And tune in to Lisa’s weekly podcast at Hope Endures Radio at the web site. Lots of support is available.


luvmy4sons said...

Awesome and important info to have! THANKS!

Laurie Ann said...

Great info, Michele. Steve gets #3 all the time with his Tourette's. I tend to get #6 with my illnesses.

Donetta said...

Good post. It is so normal for folks to not understand when they have bias.

Aunt Angie said...

YOU always provide the most timely information! How do you clap your hands in blogville??? <<<<>>>> (Is that it??)

I am clapping! Love you Michele!

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

That is great info! Thanks for sharing it with us!