A bad relationship with your doctor can be stressful — and dangerous. If you have a major health concern or chronic health condition, there’s probably a specialist in your life. Finding the right specialist can make life easier, but if it’s not working out, you might want to consider firing your doctor.
7 Reasons to Fire Your Doctor
That old gut feeling: Your doctor may be educated, experienced, and highly skilled, but that doesn’t mean you’ll make a good team. When you have a chronic health condition that requires a specialist, the relationship matters a great deal. You have to feel comfortable enough to speak freely, and you need to know you’re being heard. Sometimes, there’s no concrete reason why you don’t click with someone. You just don’t. If that’s the case, you won’t get all you need from this doctor. It’s not necessarily anyone’s fault, but a breakup is in order.
You’re getting the bum’s rush: The doctor-patient relationship is a two way street. We patients have a responsibility to clearly state the problem when scheduling an appointment, so they have some idea what to expect. We should arrive prepared to answer as well as ask questions, and it doesn’t hurt to write things down. But no matter how busy your doctor is, you still deserve his or her time and attention while you’re there. After all, what’s the point of seeing a specialist if you you’re going to get the bum’s rush? If you routinely get shortchanged, start shopping for a replacement.
You feel disrespected and dismissed: Respect may be the most important feature of the doctor-patient relationship. Perhaps you didn’t attend medical school, but it’s your body, your health, your life. Ultimately, all decisions are yours. Your concerns are valid and should be taken seriously. You should never be made to feel foolish or embarrassed. Don’t settle for being patted on the head and sent on your way. And if you occasionally need someone, like a spouse or friend, to accompany you on appointments, your doctor should respect that.
Vague answers to questions: When you ask a question, do you get an answer that makes sense to you? Are you encouraged to ask more questions or directed to sources for further research? If your doctor writes a prescription or orders a test, do you get an adequate explanation of what it is, if there are any alternatives, and what the risks are? If you answered no to any of these questions, it’s time to look for a new doctor.
Front office staff from hell: In many ways, the front office staff is as important as the physician. They’re the first line of communication and often make or break your relationship with the doctor. They’re often the ones who decide if your problem is urgent or can wait. If dealing with the front office staff feels like you’re running a gauntlet, it’s not worth the added stress. You don’t have to accept rude or inconsiderate behavior as a necessary evil. If that’s the only problem you have with your specialist, it’s probably worth mentioning it to your doctor.
Glitchy technology: Isn’t technology wonderful? It’s easier for doctor’s offices to keep track of appointments and pull up your medical records in a flash. However, the technology is only as good as the people behind it. Errors can put your health in jeopardy. Check your online records and make sure all errors are corrected. The same goes for billing errors. If mistakes are all too frequent, it’s time to reconsider your choice of doctor. And if a call to your doctor’s office leads to an automated voice mail system that goes round and round until you want to slam your phone into the wall, it’s a problem.
Location and logistics aren’t right: If you have a specialist you’re happy with, you’re probably willing to go out of your way. When getting there becomes too much of a hassle, it may no longer be worth it. If your specialist can’t coordinate care with your general practitioner, other specialists, or local facilities, or does not have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, it may be time to consider alternatives
If you are thinking of leaving your doctor, don’t do it in a huff. Find a replacement first, and get them to request your medical records. Then tell your former doctor why you chose to go elsewhere. You may be doing them a favor.
Source: Ann Pietrangelo and care2.com