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When to Fire Your Doctor

August 17, 2007

CNN has a list of suggestions for when to fire your doctor, with these five criteria:

1) When your doctor doesn’t like it when you ask questions
2) When your doctor doesn’t listen to you
3) If your doctor can’t explain your illness to you in terms you understand
4) If you feel bad when you leave your doctor’s office
5) If you feel your doctor just doesn’t like you — or if you don’t like him or her

Each of these is important advice. If your doctor takes it as an affront when you ask questions, bring information on your own to talk over regarding your condition, or doesn’t take you seriously, dump him or her – maintaining authority shouldn’t be more important than your needs for care and information. It may feel uncomfortable to tell your doctor you’d like to seek care elsewhere, but sometimes it is necessary, and it’s something you have every right to do. I’ve mentioned before that my first endocrinologist simply didn’t believe the severity of my symptoms, and suggested that I was no more tired than his nurses – changing doctors in that case was the only way for me to get treatment. I know we’re conditioned to accept a doctor’s expertise and be polite, good patients, but at those social expectations aren’t nearly as important as making sure your health is appropriately managed. Sometimes, you just have to let ’em go.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. missedconceptions permalink
    August 17, 2007 9:40 pm

    I do think that if you “feel your doctor just doesn’t like you,” you might consider other options. I do feel for doctors, though. They don’t get to pick their patients or “fire” patients who piss them off.

    I play the role of “super-annoying, overly-educated, super-anal-retentive” patient very well. I am sure I am annoying, but I really don’t care.

  2. August 18, 2007 9:57 am

    I know, I do empathize, but I’m more interested in making sure I get good care than the propriety of finding a new doc. I know a lot of older folks from the rural area where I grew up who would never think of changing doctors, despite not really feeling like they’re getting good care, just because they’ve gone there forever or don’t want to be rude. The thing is, being educated and having questions shouldn’t be annoying, you know? But I would feel that way, given that for anything major I always go in with a written list of questions I want addressed so I don’t forget them in the stress of it all.

  3. maggie permalink
    February 28, 2008 11:40 am

    I fired my doctor after 6 years and here is why. She belittled me. Made me feel like a drug seeking addict. She was always combative, and never friendly. She was probably over worked, but she made many assumptions about me and my health that were simply not true. It is terrible when you have been told that your cholestoral is off the charts, and one drop of blood has not been tested yet. Needless to say my cholestoral was just fine.
    Doctors like the one I endured should not be allowed to practice medicine. Demeanor is just as important as knowledge and expertise. I don’t like being treated like I am a hug inconvenience. I am not a drug addict either. I don’t drink or smoke. I do live with chronic pain however.
    I just found a new doctor after YEARS of searching, and I love her. I hope she doesn’t leave her practice to pursue family matters as so many of my good doctors have.
    I have avoided going to the doctor at all costs over many years. I am finally begining to trust medicine again.

  4. March 16, 2009 6:06 pm

    I decided to fire my doc after she made a decision to medicate me, without consulting me on it first (“let’s get you started on something”)!

    When I refused it and tried to explain the reasons why I was refusing the drug (which per some research I later did is no longer recommended as a first course of action for the condition -eh- “problem” due to extreme risk factors, per studies done in 2006!) she became seemingly angry- belittled me and accused me of “ignoring” my “problem.” I later obtained copies of my medical records and noticed that she documented that I “cited multiple excuses…” She had totally blown off my concerns!

    Not to mention that she said that the drug she was pushing on me was “…good for type-a personalities…” after being very rude to me regarding another matter, almost as though it were an (discriminatory) afterthought.

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