Many of us like and respect our medical doctors and other health care professionals. Why? Because these health care pros have been there when we needed them and helped us get back on our feet. They’re kind, considerate and first-rate at what they do. They’re available when we need them with same-day appointments or consults on the off-hours. Their practices are well-run and organized, but not so much so that we feel like “just a number.” For example, we don’t wait too long for an appointment or, once there, languish in their offices. Indeed, great medical doctors and other health care professionals stand out from the rest.
Why Calling it Quits with a Doctor is Difficult for Patients
Sometimes our medical doctors and other health care professionals disappoint us. How so? They poorly manage our health care, rush appointments, or fail to show up altogether with little or no explanation. These medical doctors may talk down to us or express frustration with our questions. They resist writing anything down to clarify recommended diagnostic, treatment or after care. But, they’re fast and furious with the pen when it comes to prescriptions for drugs that sometimes pose adverse effects. These same medical doctors are reluctant to rethink a treatment plan, especially if it confirms what the patient has been saying or suggesting all along. They’re rude or their medical practice staff is rude, or worse.
It’s so obvious when there’s a poor fit between a patient and medical provider. Yet, often, we as patients will work against our own self-interests and stick by a medical doctor’s side long after they should have moved on. What accounts for this? Simple. No one, including ourselves, wants to start over with someone new. It’s too difficult. It means confronting someone with medical or technical expertise that we ourselves may not have. It may mean a difficult search for someone new. It means countless telephone calls to transfer medical records, diagnostics, and more.
Making the Switch for Quality Care and Appropriate Medical Treatment
You deserve quality health care and medically appropriate treatment. You deserve to have a medical doctor and health care professional collaborate with you and your family on appropriate diagnosis, treatment and after care. But, sometimes your medical doctor and health care professionals let you down. Check out these Top 10 Reasons to Call It Quits with Your Medical Doctor. Sure to help you make a change for the right reasons at the right time.
1. Poorly managed medical practice. The warning signs are there. You wait too long to get an appointment. You find yourself waiting forever to see the doctor, once in the waiting room. Your calls are not returned. Your medical files and records are lost. You feel like a number instead of a valued patient. Medical practice staff is rude and shows lack of regard, respect or empathy for patients and their families. This and other factors are signs of poorly managed medical practice. Time to move on.
2. Poor doctor-patient communications. The medical doctor doesn’t seem to hear you. The medical doctor doesn’t ask questions. The health care pro spends much of the appointment talking at you and not with you and, often, your family members. The physician never calls back and never checks up with you on after care. Time to quit your doctor and find someone who will.
3. Substandard care or serious treatment error. Medical errors. Medical negligence. Medical mistakes and missteps. False positives on tests. Surgical errors. Physician malpractice. Enough said.
4. Lack of mutual respect and trust. You don’t feel respected and heard by your medical doctor. Your medical doctor doesn’t seem to believe you when you reasonable describe an ailment, condition or pain. No tests are ordered. Nothing is done on your behalf. Time to find a physician who will work closely with you and your family on medically appropriate diagnostic tests, treatments and after care.
5. Boundary violations and patient privacy. The medical doctor makes inappropriate remarks to you, about your medical condition, other patients, you name it. Or, medical practice staff violates your privacy rights. This may be a violation of an ethical code of conduct, a boundary, licensure, or worse. Time to find another medical practice where the physicians and other health care providers demonstrate professional judgment and appropriate medical expertise.
6. Poor fit and mismatched expectations. You’re looking for innovative or alternative treatments and your medical doctor is quite conventional. You’re looking for someone to collaborate on your care and your physician doesn’t partner with you and your family on treatment plans. You don’t think something will work and your medical doctor insists it will. There’s no meeting of the minds between doctor and patient. You don’t feel comfortable or taken care of. You feel pressured to undergo testing and treatment when it doesn’t feel quite right to you. You may want to find another medical doctor who meets your needs and collaborates on care.
7. Directive and dictatorial instead of collaborative medical care. You don’t feel like you have any say or role in your medical treatment or care. Your medical doctor seems like a “lone ranger.” You feel pressured to agree to tests, medical treatment and after care strategies. You’re not apprised of your options. Time to move on.
8. Practicing beyond medical scope of practice. You would never go to a dentist and expect to undergo major surgery on your hip. Then, why do we allow doctors to practice or consult outside their own specialty or scope of practice? Time to find someone who practices within their area of medical expertise.
9. Unwillingness to refer you to a medical specialist. Any medical doctor who is unwilling to find medically appropriate treatment, specific to your health care needs, may be putting his or her practice ahead of your care. Find someone who will refer you to specialists and other health care providers as appropriate.
10.Discouragement of second opinions by other qualified physicians. You never want to second guess your medical doctor or health care professional. But, you should get a second opinion, particularly where advanced treatment and surgery is concerned. If you’re discouraged by your physician from getting a second opinion, there’s something wrong. Time to move on.
American Academy of Family Physicians
Art of Patient Care (Blog)
Patient Care Partnership: Understanding Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities
American Hospital Association
Talking with your doctor, Asking the right questions
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)