Wednesday, May 4, 2011
I am not just another medical chart
So yet another study came along but this is one I like and will incorporate into my doctor interactions.
This new study says that patients who bond with their doctors are more likely to get better and doctors who show hope and optimism have patients who are more likely to get better. While the study focuses on mental health issues the article goes on to add that it is applicable across all medical ailments and diseases.
What does this mean to me? That I will be more active in who my doctors are and treat the first interactions more of interviews - where I am interviewing them - than as blind acceptance of in who ever's office I ended up. A doctor is someone who you (or your insurance) pay for a service. There is no reason to stick with one you don't like or who doesn't listen to you. If you don't like them, find another one.
In the past few years I have mostly gone to new doctors who I have researched and asked questions about. I want ones who will listen to me and not disregard my concerns. I am not just another medical chart to be reviewed and treated - just as I am not just another number at the deli.
The past few weeks I am thinking about the idiotic Dr. B who ignored me about my concerns and my habits and blamed me for blood pressure issues. It turns out since that he was wrong and he did upset me significantly to the point that if I am referred to any other doctors in the near future I will probably be on the defensive side. I am almost at the point of writing to the hospital to complain about him or at least complaining to a patient advocate.
What do I want in a doctor-patient interaction? They don't need to be my friend. I don't need to be able to call them 24/7. I do need to be able to get an appointment if needed within 24-48 hours. I do need to get some follow up when/if diagnosed with something new. I do need to be listened to and not discounted when talking about what bothers me - why I am there. Am I too demanding? I don't think so. I am happy to vote with my feet.
Do doctors understand this? I think sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. This depends on both their bedside manner and their personality as well as size of their ego. Most I think do try to reach out to their patients.
Sometimes patients too need to realize that doctors are not miracle workers. Its a two way street. If you make demands of your doctor they are going to react badly. If you expect your doctor to change your treatment protocol every week just because a new study came along, your expectations may be wrong. A treatment needs to be tested and proven to be put into use. A patient needs to listen to their doctor and follow their instructions. If your doctor tells you to take a prescription, exercise, eat right, etc, yes it is advice but if you don't follow it, you won't get better.
I don't want to be just another medical chart. I want to be a patient who actually works with their doctor to get better