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Gauging When it May be Time to Find a New Doctor

Many doctors consider their profession an art. Medicine has its creative aspects to be sure, but it is more deeply rooted in science. Anatomy, biology, chemistry are all aspects of medical practice and discoveries mean diagnostic methods and standards of care are constantly being refined.

Today, we are at a point where nearly every specialty has its own set of standards of care for the conditions a given specialty encounters most often. But just because the standards exist doesn’t mean every specialist knows them and practices them. Ignoring standards amounts to a medical mistake and that may result in injury or even death.

Holding the offending medical professional accountable after something goes wrong by consulting an attorney is always advisable. But that happens after the fact. Here are some questions to consider to decide if it’s time to fire your doctor before the worst happens.

  • Do you trust your doctor’s ability? If you don’t, find someone new. Don’t worry about hurting the doctor’s feelings.
  • Does your doctor have hospital privileges? Not all doctors have them and lacking them may be a sign the doctor is unqualified.
  • Is your doctor certified by his specialty board? Certification by peers can’t ensure quality, but it can indicate the doctor is current on new developments.
  • Does the doctor listen to you? It’s your body and you have a right to ask questions. If your doctor is dismissive, maybe it’s time to say goodbye.
  • How is the doctor at explaining a prescription? Does he or she tell you what it’s for and what it should do? If cost is an issue, are generics discussed?
  • How are specialist referrals working out? If your primary care physician bridles at you asking to see a specialist and the notion of a second opinion, it might be time to walk away.
  • Do you hit administrative gridlock? If you get put on a long hold when you call, if you have to prod to get test results or refills, if waiting room waits are excessive, don’t stay.
  • Does the doctor always see you? Many practices now have nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants. But if it means you never see your doctor, find one you can see.

Consider these doses of prevention.

Source: Forbes, “When to fire your doctor,” accessed Aug. 5, 2014