Note to Editor: The following article is my own work and is not taken from any website, magazine, television broadcast or newspaper.
Not all doctor-patient relationships are wonderful. Not all patients are, and not all doctors are, either. When medical care turns into a “battle-of-the-wills” instead of treatment, it may be time to change doctors.
The following five reasons you may want to consider changing your doctor come from my own experience. I’m no longer with the doctor in these examples. Sadly, all five are from the same office.
I received a bill for a copay that I had indeed paid at the office. Not wanting to cause trouble, I paid the bill. I went back to my bank, and obtained a copy of the original cancelled check for the date the doctor’s office claimed I didn’t pay.
When I approached the billing company, I was told, “See the doctor’s office. It’s their responsibility.” So, I went to the doctor’s office and made my case known. The office manager said, “See the billing company. It’s their error.” I told her that I had just been at the billing office. She said there was nothing she could do.
I spoke to the doctor, and he stated, “So sue me.” It was only $25. I could not believe it. It costs $65 to file a lawsuit.
Two months later, I had an insurance under whose plan I did not pay for doctor’s visits. The deductible was met by a savings account through the plan. The doctor’s staff refused to call the insurance company and charged me anyway. They refused to allow me to see the doctor if I didn’t pay.
The insurance company sent me a statement showing the same amount of money the office staff demanded was paid to the office by the savings account. Now they had double payment.
I went back through the process, heard the same thing, and filed a lawsuit. The doctor’s office sent a check for the entire amount they had overcharged. I was out the $65 dollar filing fee.
The doctor ignores you
At one time, this doctor was very attentive to the patients. Over time, however, that changed. He seemed to have a “rush-rush-rush” attitude.
Sometimes in the middle of explaining what was going on, he would look at my records, start writing without looking up or at me, and then walk out. Several minutes later, a nurse would come in and hand me a prescription. I felt as though I were being rushed out the door. I would have to ask what the diagnosis was, and she would have to go find out.
This is a huge warning sign. As he got older, he refused to retire. When I left his care, he was 80+ and still practicing.
The staff is a joke
Ok. This is subjective, but if you’re standing at the window patiently waiting to sign in for over 20 minutes while the receptionist is on a personal call, something’s not right.
The staff can’t seem to get billing right at all.
Your appointments keep disappearing in their computer. This happened on more than one occasion to me and to other patients. Even getting calls the night before confirming the appointments did nothing to solve the problem. Confirmation numbers given to patients had little effect either.
Bottom line here: if this is the best that your doctor can hire to help you, leave.
This is the best reason to fire your doctor. If you have the flu and the doctor says you only have a cold, take the hint.
Granted, there are several conditions that mimic each other, but if your doctor won’t take the time to get the correct diagnosis, you are the one at risk.
Being prescribed the wrong medication for the condition is nothing short of dangerous malpractice. An antibiotic for the flu is stupid. Antibiotics work on bacteria, not on viruses. Even grade school students know that.
Arguing with patients about treatment
Have you ever heard these phrases? “Do it my way.” “Why argue with me? I’m a doctor. I have a license. I know more than you.” “Alternative medicine? That’s just a crock. Doesn’t work. I know what’s best.”
A lot of old wives’ remedies work. How do you think they got to be old? Congress spent nearly half a billion dollars to find out that chicken soup works. Now the modern medical establishment is beginning to acknowledge alternative medicines.
There was a time that washing one’s hands before delivering a baby was considered unnecessary by “modern doctors.” So was washing your hands after an autopsy, then seeing a patient. Or washing instruments. And so on.
If your doctor refuses to discuss alternative treatments, medications, or self-help, it may be time to look for another doctor.
If a doctor is adamant about surgery instead of physical therapy, as in the example of back surgeries, it may be time to find someone else.
These aren’t meant to scare anyone away from his or her doctor’s care. If these signs are showing up at your doctor’s office, however, it may be time to find another caregiver for yourself and your family.