Yesterday I took J to a new GI doctor. I’m still sore over what happened with our previous GI after the parasite error was discovered, and honestly I’d had misgivings about him even before that, but I stuck with him anyway. After meeting Dr. New GI today, I was disappointed in myself for not leaving the previous doctor sooner. So, here are some tips for when you should consider changing doctors.
1) Your doctor is unapologetic about a mistake. Doctors are humans and therefore mistakes are going to happen. If your doctor seems distressed about the error and changes how they operate to guard against another mistake, great! But if your doctor can’t understand why you’re upset, downplays the error or your feelings, and doesn’t make any relevant changes, it may be time to give them the pink slip.
2) Your doctor routinely keeps you waiting past your appointment time and you don’t get your fair share of time. I have a couple of doctors who I know will run late, because they give their undivided attention to every patient. I’m ok waiting an hour, because I know I won’t be rushed when it’s my turn. But if your doctor is keeping you waiting without reason, that shows a lack of respect for your time.
3) Your doctor resists explaining their rationale for using a particular medication or treatment. You may not be in the medical field, but you still deserve to understand why your doctor thinks a particular treatment is best for your/your child’s issue. And if the treatment isn’t working, they should be willing to explore other options with you. If they aren’t, they could be compromising your health. Also suspect: if try to push supplements/products on you that they sell out of their office and therefore make a profit off.
4) Your doctor can’t seem to remember basic facts about your treatment. Doctors have a lot of patients, so of course they aren’t going to remember every detail about your life. But if it’s been a few months and your doctor is still asking why you take beta blockers, or suggests cutting out dairy every appointment, when they’re the ones who discovered your child had a dairy intolerance in the first place, well, Houston, we have a problem.
5) Your doctor refuses to speak to patients over the phone or email: if you don’t have an appointment, you’re not getting any help, even in an emergency. I get that doctors don’t typically get paid for talking on the phone, but if it’s urgent, there should be a mechanism for getting help.
6) Your doctor refuses to change the course of treatment, even when you can prove it’s incorrect. For example, your child’s doctor has been unsuccessfully treating your child for one diagnosis, when you learn that’s the wrong diagnosis and your child needs a different medication. If the doctor fights you on changing it, there’s definitely an ego problem and hint: it’s probably not yours.