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.
- You do not feel heard
- You do feel rushed
- The visit confuses rather than clarifies
- The doctor repeatedly interrupts you
- The doctor does not appear to be listening to you
- You do not have enough time to discuss everything that concerns you
- The doctor pays more attention to the person with you than she does to you
- The doctor provides remedies that do not apply to you, such as telling you to stop smoking when you don’t smoke
- The doctor is condescending, either in tone or in actions
- 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
- Organize everything you need to discuss ahead of time, and write it down
- Continue to ask questions until you have the information you need
- Clarify your needs ahead of time so the doctor knows what you expect from the visit
- Continue to ask questions until you are clear on what to expect
- If the doctor appears not to be listening, ask open-ended questions to gain her attention
- When making the appointment, ask for extra time
- Pull the attention back to you if you feel it will be helpful, or set expectations with your companion ahead of time
- Clarify whether the remedies apply to you by making truthful statements. [I’m not sure if you’re aware that I’ve never smoked.]
- Continue to engage with the physician in a calm and measured way
- Share what you need to share, even if it means that you keep talking as the doctor leaves the room.
- 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?