Would You Like To Be Your Physician’s Favorite Patient? Part Two

By on August 1, 2013

By Beth Havey –

In his book, How To Be Your Doctor’s Favorite Patient And Get the Care You Deserve, Dr. Brad Colegate uses humor and experience when offering insights for a good patient-doctor relationship.

  1. Do expect that the doctor will order blood work and imaging studies that sometimes can pinpoint a diagnosis.
  2. Don’t expect technology to provide the diagnosis and treatment. Medicine is still as much of an art as science and there are still humans behind the machines.
  3. Don’t demand extensive testing as part of a routine check-up.
  4. Do ask for a second opinion if the testing goes on and on. A different human may find out more than the MRI machine.
  5. Do tell the doctor the real reason you are there.
  6. Don’t just answer “yes” or “no” to all your doctor’s questions.
  7. Do volunteer information that you think might be helpful.
  8. Don’t keep secrets from your doctor when she is trying to help you with your problem.
  9. Do expect confidentiality to be respected.

Tips 5-9 focus on the patient’s responsibility to be a good historian. That’s medical talk for telling the doctor just why you are seeking his help. Withholding information because you are embarrassed by what is happening to your body will not help your doctor take care of you. He needs to know everything that applies to your current condition.

Dr. Jill from Southern California, a family practitioner who blogs at Jill of All Trades, MD, also writes about the doctor’s side of the patient/doctor relationship. She confesses that there was a time when she felt she was not supposed to allow herself to have feelings of compassion for her patients. Then she read the following comment by another physician blogger: “…In family medicine, we are supposed to get attached to our patients. That is the definition of compassion. That is what separates our specialty from many others.”

Dr. Jill writes about this conflict stating that in some ways doctor’s need to build a wall around their true feelings as a coping mechanism. This conflict begins in medical school when their first encounter is with a cadaver. A classmate expressed his confusion. He said he was trying to view the cadaver as an object and that later when he looked at the man’s hands he realized this was a real person. “You do a lot with your hands,” he said, struggling to understand his position.

Dr. Jill has resolved this conflict for herself. She reveals the very human side of doctoring that all of us wish to tap into: “I think it is very important to maintain compassion. There has to be some balance. It’s a primal instinct to want to be loved and cared for, and physicians who are able to feel and convey this compassion may have much more influence over their patients’ health. And it ultimately makes us much better physicians if we just allow ourselves to feel once in a while.”

Certainly as we seek out the help of doctors throughout our lives we will have very good experiences and not so very good ones. We can help set the stage for good communication right from the start. Many a patient has made that necessary human connection with their family doctor and with specialists.  I do stress in my writing about medicine that doctors work for you. But it never hurts to open the door to communication early on and show that you want care and to facilitate that you will be cooperative and helpful during the process.

Dr. Jill http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2011/02/physicians-feel-compassion.html.

 

Beth Havey is a Boomer, member of the sandwich generation, passionate about health and the snags in the fabric of life that affect our children and grandchildren.  Help me slow life down on BOOMER HIGHWAY www.boomerhighway.org. Be sure to stop and to chat with her.

About Beth Havey

Beth Havey is a Boomer, member of the sandwich generation, passionate about health and the snags in the fabric of life that affect our children and grandchildren. Help me slow life down on BOOMER HIGHWAY www.boomerhighway.org. Be sure to stop and to chat with her.

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Would You Like To Be Your Physician’s Favorite Patient? Part Two