Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Your doctor can fire you too.

Patients often talk about firing their doctor and moving on to a new one. Sometimes its bedside manner, perceived lack of compassion, or changing medical needs. I strongly believe that patients should have the ability to fire their doctor if they want. There is no reason why not.

As patients become more and more self educated, they become more outspoken and more demanding, questioning their doctors. There is nothing wrong with this but we need remember doctors are people too. They can fire their patients too. Recently on one of the billion cancer related message boards I am on, someone was writing about how their doctor 'fired' them. The patient questioned her doctor repeatedly on a changed medicine dose and finally the doctor's office told them to find another doctor.

Hmmmm.... Let's see. The doctor went to medical school and knows how to treat patients - or that is the premise when they graduate and get their medical license. They learn which doses are appropriate for patients. They probably have little reference charts too.  They are doing their best to treat their patients.

If my doctor tells me what dose to take of a medication and I ask why, if they can provide a good explanation, I accept it. It does me no good to press the subject. I'm willing to give things a try and if it doesn't work out, I can go back for a change. If I wasted my time arguing with my doctors on every point, I wouldn't have any time left.

I believe that patients should ask their doctors questions about treatment and not hesitate in getting second opinions if needed. But we also have to rely on our doctor's advice and treatment plans and accept that they are giving their best advice. They probably consult with other doctors on difficult cases as well.

Patients need to keep in mind that doctors are people, in fact they are very busy people. If all their patients questioned everything, no one would ever get treated. We can ask but need to be polite about it, not argue the issue to death, and respect their advice. Or we run the risk of getting fired.

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