Dealing with Doctors: How to Be Heard Without Shouting
(Ed. Note: From “American Health, November, 1997” comes this valuable article)
Under the best of circumstances, medical professionals sometimes don’t take patients – particularly women – seriously. The situation is worse for a woman with a chronic illness, whose disease results from frequent office visits and repeated requests for symptom relief. Even when a woman’s complaints are genuine, some doctors tend to dismiss them. A few words of wisdom:
- Find a physician who trusts you to know your body and who respects your views.
- Bring a list of questions to every doctor’s appointment.
- To help ensure that you’re taken seriously, write down your symptoms and how often you’re been having them before your appointment. Sort through the issues you want to address, so that you can bring them up in an organized fashion. (It will help to get information from the library, the Internet or a non-profit organization for information beforehand.)
- If your doctor seems rushed, tell her you have several things you want to discuss and request another appointment. If she won’t schedule another visit or call you on the phone when her waiting room clears out, start shopping for another doctor.
- Before you stomp out of any doctor’s office, though, stop for a moment to examine your own attitudes. A 1997 study at the University of Iowa in Iowa City showed that patients with a high level of mistrust and suspicion that physicians don’t have their best interests at heart are less likely than the others to follow a doctor’s orders.
The conclusion: Be a skeptic but not a cynic. In return, expect that your concerns will be heard and addressed.
My mom and I wanted to thank you for hosting such a great symposium this year. This was our third year and we are looking forward to next years. E. Mathews