Wednesday, March 11, 2009
We will never find the perfect doctor, as they are all human
and none of them are perfect. It comes as no surprise to
most of us that they call their profession "the practice of
medicine." One of the leading causes of death and injury in
the United States is medical mistakes.
It is calculated by the Institute of Medicine that medical
errors actually kill anywhere from 44,000 to 90,000 people
in U.S. hospitals each year. This figure is more than those
who are killed by automobile accidents or those who succumb
to breast cancer.
Regardless of whether you are generally healthy, or live
with a chronic illness, you still need a physician you can
trust. Though an occasional small mistake may occur, it is
especially important that you have a doctor who is eager to
be part of your medical team for both short-term and
Are there some definite signs you should not listen to your
doctors, seek a second opinion, or even change doctors? Yes!
1. Your doctor is quick to speak and slow to listen, rarely
hearing all of your symptoms or asking questions about them.
He quickly records his interpretation of what you are saying
before you have begun to explain your symptoms or the
2. Your doctor is persistent about prescribing medicines
that are recently available. He does not explain what the
medication is, why you need it, how it will help your
situation, long-term effects, or if there is a plan to get
you off of it. You can see the promotional items for the
medication around his office.
3. Your doctor acts as if he knows less about your condition
that even you do. You leave the appointments feeling like all
you did was report in your latest symptoms while he took
4. Your doctor doesn't have confidence to treat you, rarely
providing actual advice or instructions, but rather says,
"What do you think we should do?" or "You do whatever you
think is best."
5. Your doctor is swift to request tests or procedures that
could have a negative bearing on your current health or
illness. He doesn't seem to understand that tests that may
be of minor influence on the body of a healthy person can be a
major factor in your well-being. The best doctor will keep
all of your body in mind when making choices about tests,
not just the area that he is a specialist for.
6. Your doctor seems to humor you, looks at you as if he
doubts your symptoms, and smiles and writes notes. You feel
like he is being condescending rather than a part of your
7. Your doctor refuses to let you see the medical records he
has on you and your condition. If you request them he says
he will send them to another physician, but he seems to go
out of his way to make sure you don't personally receive
them. At some point you may apply for disability financial
support and the social security disability review doctors
will want to review your medical history. It is important
the records are accurate.
8. Your doctor is never accessible when you need him the
most. On the rare occasion when you have an emergency he is
unable to provide you with an appointment promptly. Your
prescriptions are not refilled when requested. He rarely has
his office return your calls and he is unable to be reached
for hours even when he is paged for an urgent situation.
9. Your doctor does not believe you are in the amount of
pain you claim you are in. He seems reluctant about prescribing
you with pain medication, despite the severity of the pain,
and your proven responsibility with medications.
10. Your doctor is never open to consulting other medical
professionals or faxing his notes over to your other
physicians. He thinks he can solve all of your medical needs
and feels threatened when you want to consult with another
source, specialist, or someone else on your medical team.
The best doctor will listen to you thoroughly, take good
notes, explain the benefits and drawbacks of medications,
and make you feel like you are an integral part of your
While there may be no such thing as the perfect physician
and it may take a few referrals to find the best doctor to
meet your medical needs and be a good personality fit, don't
give up. Never sacrifice your health just because you don't
want to hurt a doctor's feelings by leaving him and seeking
health care elsewhere.