10 Signs You are at the Wrong Doctor’s Office

By Maureen DeGarmo and Lisa Mark, C.P.O.

Have you ever been at a doctor’s office where you couldn’t wait to escape? Here are 10 signs that you are in the wrong place.
  1. You do not feel heard
  2. You do feel rushed
  3. The visit confuses rather than clarifies
  4. The doctor repeatedly interrupts you
  5. The doctor does not appear to be listening to you
  6. You do not have enough time to discuss everything that concerns you
  7. The doctor pays more attention to the person with you than she does to you
  8. The doctor provides remedies that do not apply to you, such as telling you to stop smoking when you don’t smoke
  9. The doctor is condescending, either in tone or in actions
  10. The doctor does not allow you to share important information that might have changed follow up care and treatment options.
…And how to change it

  1. Organize everything you need to discuss ahead of time, and write it down
  2. Continue to ask questions until you have the information you need
  3. Clarify your needs ahead of time so the doctor knows what you expect from the visit
  4. Continue to ask questions until you are clear on what to expect
  5. If the doctor appears not to be listening, ask open-ended questions to gain her attention
  6. When making the appointment, ask for extra time
  7. Pull the attention back to you if you feel it will be helpful, or set expectations with your companion ahead of time
  8. Clarify whether the remedies apply to you by making truthful statements. [I’m not sure if you’re aware that I’ve never smoked.]
  9. Continue to engage with the physician in a calm and measured way
  10. Share what you need to share, even if it means that you keep talking as the doctor leaves the room.
  11. If all else fails, file a complaint with the American Medical Association, and find a new physician.

Living with a Traumatic Illness is difficult enough without opposition from your doctor. Certainly, it takes time and energy, but the benefits of a supportive and informative doctor are worth the struggle it takes to find one.

Tell us your story. Have you had trouble finding the right doctor?

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