Sunday, May 15, 2011


Have you ever heard the saying "You get what you ask for", or even "Be careful what you ask for"? 

I truly believe that for allot of things in life this is very true, our health care included.  One of the recurring posts on some of the support sites I visit everyday is frustration and disappointment with our medical care.  We all try to support each other and encourage our fellow sufferers to empower themselves with information and strength.  That is the beauty of being in contact with people who really do 'get it'.

We are trained from childhood to be polite and nice and accept what the nice doctor tells us like it is the holy grail.  We are told to be good patients.  THESE PEOPLE ARE HUMAN, NOT GODS!  They forget, don't know, assume, have doubts and insecurities just like the rest of us.  A 'good' doctor still does these things but by admitting his humanity and listening to his patient he has a better success rate then the 'bad' ones.

So how can we as patients be sure to get the best treatment possible and leave the doctor's office with a feeling of satisfaction and success? 

Many patients don't know how to be assertive with their health care professionals.  They either are aggressive and insulting or meek and accepting of whatever is said to them. 

One of the best way I have found to get better SERVICE is to remember that you are paying for this service.  Would you keep going back to a restaurant where the waitress (receptionist) was rude and didn't seat you?  Or the chef (doctor) burnt your steak time and time again?  Probably not.  If you didn't actually complain at the time, you probably wouldn't go back.  So try to remember that the Doctor is providing a service and is in business.  This immediately empowers you.

What is it about sitting half naked on the examining table that takes away our voices?  If you are unsatisfied with an answer to your questions or don't understand the directions, then ask them to clarify.  You can do this in quite a mild way by saying, "I'm sorry I don't understand, could you explain that to me again?"  So simple but why is it so hard for allot of us?  I bet we would all ask the guy at Best Buy to explain how the DVR worked if we didn't understand him. THIS IS OUR BODY AND HEALTH!  Ask questions and be sure to understand the answer before you leave. 

You can also disagree with your doctor and express your sentiment. Just like anyone else in your life, as long as you are polite, disagree and EXPECT a polite opinion back. 

We need to deal with medical professionals the way we deal with everyone else.  Communicate, EXPECT respect, don't ACCEPT poor service and vote with your feet if you continue to be treated badly.  Empower yourself to be a good patient, and you will find that suddenly your health care needs are being met.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is a really important topic. It took me years to finally feel this way, to feel comfortable taking control of my health and taking charge of my appointments with my rheumatologist. I love the man to death and I am thankful that he is so supportive and welcoming of my choices. I've been coaching people to take a larger role in their health care and let their doctor know exactly what they want.

    Thanks for writing this! Mind if I link to it in the future?