|Posted on February 7, 2017 at 8:00 AM|
We have all had experiences at the doctor where we felt disappointed: the time felt rushed, we didn't get all our questions answered, the doctor ran a bit late, etc. These issues are usually excusable, but there are some that deserve a deeper look. If any of the following issues resonate with you, you may have good reason to consider finding a new doctor.
Your doctor makes fun of you or belittles you. When you go to the doctor you should be treated with respect. If you feel your doctor is laughing at you (and you haven't made a joke) or is talking condescendingly to you, it may be time to find someone else to take care of your medical needs. If your doctor calls in other staff to look at you or your body in a way that means, "you've never seen anything like this!," that is extremely unprofessional and you should find a new doctor immediately. If your doctor says, "Ewwww!" about something on your body, it's time to move on. I'm not saying he or she would never be grossed out by anything, but it is unspeakably inappropriate for him or her to indicate this. You are not seeing your doctor in order to become a science experiment or to be treated like a freak show. You deserve, and should expect, respect.
Your doctor is offended when you want a second opinion or when you ask questions. A doctor who cannot tolerate this probably has a large and fragile ego, and is more interested in keeping it intact than in giving you quality care. A good doctor knows she doesn't have every answer, and also knows it is important to consult on cases. She would have no problem with answering any questions you have, finding answers for you if she doesn't know them, you getting a second (or third, or fourth) opinion, and might even suggest it herself. She is not insulted by her patients asking for more information because her primary concern is the health of those patients.
Your doctor insists you need expensive special products you can only purchase from him/her. I'm not saying all special products are bad. However, when a doctor recommends a product you can only buy from him, you absolutely must have it, and it is very expensive, it can be worth it to take a step back and evaluate the situation. The product may be exactly what you need. If so, it's okay to invest in it. It's also okay to take time to think about it and buy it at another time. Or, the product could be something you could easily find at the local drug store or do without. Pushing products (special vitamins, creams, cans of compressed air, etc) can be a red flag indicating your doctor has other priorities than your health and best interests.
Your doctor (or their staff) does not return your phone calls/emails. If you can't get in contact with your doctor to make an appointment or to find out the results of tests, that's a problem. We all get busy, but when repeated calls go unanswered or unreturned, it may be time to move on and find someone else. It doesn't have to be a personal thing, and you don't have to feel bad for going to a different provider. You are your own advocate, and if you aren't getting the care you need, it is up to you to make sure you do.
Your doctor minimizes your concerns. This is different than validating that you are worried, but giving you reassurance, citing specific examples of why you may not need to be as concerned as you currently are. If your doctor calls your concerns silly or stupid, and doesn't actually listen to them, or brushes them off, ie, "Oh, you're fine. That's nothing," you are allowed to say something about this. You are also allowed to see a different doctor. It is true that your anxiety may seem unfounded to your doctor (he or she has a depth of knowledge about medicine that the general public doesn't), but even so, you should expect to have your concerns heard.