How do you know if it’s time to switch? A lot of doctors are facing financial pressures these days. They’re so concerned with how many patients they can see per hour that they begin to view patients as numbers rather than people.
Case in point: one of my clients is a 78-year-old woman who complains that her family doctor often downplays her health concerns and limits her time in his office. For example, when she was worried about Alzheimer’s he laughed it off and sent her home without taking the time to explain his reasons.
I asked her if she ever tried to find a doctor who would treat her more respectfully. And she said, “Oh, I could never leave Dr. R. I’ve been with him for years!”
Do You Know How to Deal with Confrontation?
If you don’t know how to deal with confrontation (or don’t like it) it’s natural to avoid it and continue to accept your doctor’s word as gospel. It’s very comforting to trust that your health care provider has all the answers and your best interests at heart!
But if you unquestioningly obey professionals like doctors, there’s a chance you may not be getting the respect or the health care you deserve.
Here are a few signs that it may be time to fire your MD.
1. If Seeking a Second Opinion is a No-No
You have the right to seek a second opinion, especially on serious health matters. If your doctor reacts negatively to the idea, she may not be right the right health care professional for you. Openness and a good rapport are so important to the doctor-patient relationship.
2. “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor”
How does your doctor react when you tell him what you’ve learned through your own research about a disease or health concern? Does he embrace your interest or does he seem threatened or insulted?
You are an authority on your own body. Doctors who treat their relationship with you as a partnership rather than ruler and subject are better healers because the lines of communication are open.
3. No Personal Connection
I’ve had several experiences with doctors who were more interested in my file or my lab results than the patient sitting right in front of them. On one occasion, this led to a misdiagnosis that wouldn’t have happened if the doctor had interacted with me as well as my data.
There is no shame in firing a doctor who’s in too big a hurry to treat you as a whole person.
Openness and mutual respect are what we all want in a health care professional. If you feel that’s lacking in your doctor-patient relationship, start by learning how to deal with confrontation. Prepare what you want to say. Then share your feelings with your doctor and ask for the kind of interaction you want. If that doesn’t work, you have the right to change doctors… because it’s your health and your life.
Your Turn to Vent: Have you ever wanted to switch doctors but found it hard? Why? And how did you deal with the confrontation, or did you just avoid it? Share your story with us.