It can happen with any physician. Whether it’s a general family practitioner or an OB/GYN, there comes a point in time when we all feel like our doctor isn’t really listening to us or acting in our best interest.
Relationships with doctors are often complex. Physicians help us when we’re desperately ill, take an interest in our aches and pains, and tell us to lose weight or get our cholesterol down. They’re there to help us feel young and deal with the problems of getting older. So what happens when you feel like you aren’t getting personal treatment and attention?
Many people feel a personal connection to their doctor, even when the doctor isn’t treating them properly. Rather than putting up with an otherwise occupied practitioner, it’s time to fire your doctor. That’s right. I said FIRE.
For some reason, many people feel like they owe their physician their loyalty. (I have certainly fallen into this category.) However, it is important to remember that above a personal connection, the two of you have a working relationship. The key word here is relationship, meaning the benefits needs to go both ways.
As women, we often have a hard time demanding the service we deserve. After all, doctors are providing a service we pay for. They are not doing us a favor by seeing us. Let me give you an example.
When we moved to a new town, my son was just a toddler bringing tons of germs from preschool. Suddenly, I was sick month after month. I found a group of three internists that could see me quickly and take my insurance. Yahoo! However, when I met the older doctor, he barely listened to what I had to say, dismissed some of the things I did get through and discharged me with a quick prescription. I was so desperate from a sinus infection I just took the prescription and left, chocking up the behavior to his excessive senior citizen status.
Within months, I was back with another sinus infection. This time I was seen by the young colt of the group. He spoke excessively fast. He answered his phone during the check up, and then he actually left the exam room mid-sentence. MY mid-sentence to be exact. This time, although I took the prescription, I knew I wouldn’t be back.
While we will fight for the best care for our kids, I wonder how often we put up with this behavior or worse when it comes to taking care of ourselves.
Just what can you expect from your personal doctor? Your physician should:
- Take time to listen and absorb what you say
- Not accept phone calls or interruptions unless it’s a medical emergency or necessity
- Thoroughly explain your condition and/or next steps
- Give you well-written directions for any medications
- Follow-up with you if you have a more serious condition
- Gently remind you about the things you are avoiding (like weight loss or a cholesterol screening)
- Apologize for making you wait or have their staff communicate the waiting issue (There are lots of reasons for a longer wait time, but there is no reason for a lack of communication.)
What are the red flags you look for in a physician?