Should You Switch Doctors?

The decision to switch doctors can be difficult, especially if you’ve been seeing the same one for several years. Many of us develop personal relationships with our medical providers, which makes it easy to forget that health care is a service we pay for – just like cable, utilities, or a cellular plan. Here are five signs that it may be time to begin finding a new doctor.

  1. Your doctor doesn’t listen to you. Does your doctor have a habit of interrupting you as soon as you start talking? Do you find your doctor taking phone calls or attending to other matters while you are trying to explain your symptoms? Does your doctor repeatedly ask questions that you’ve already answered?
  1. Your doctor doesn’t believe you. Do you find your doctor frequently attributing your symptoms to age, stress or hormones? If you have a chronic illness like fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, does your doctor dismiss it as a nonexistent condition? Does your doctor imply that most of your health problems are psychosomatic?
  1. Your doctor is dismissive of any alternative or non-Western treatments. Does your doctor make you feel foolish if you ask about an alternative treatment like acupuncture or massage therapy? Are you hesitant to tell your doctor about the herbal supplements you’ve been taking for fear of the lecture you’ll receive.
  1. Your doctor refuses to refer you to a specialist. When you ask for a referral to see a specialist, does your doctor refuse without explaining why? Is your doctor offended if you ask for a second opinion? Typically, these types of doctors are unwilling to cooperate with other members of your medical team (like physical therapists).
  1. Your doctor is rude, arrogant or inconsiderate. Does your doctor make you feel as if you are wasting his or her valuable time? Does your doctor talk to you in a condescending or patronizing manner? When you ask a question, does your doctor ever make you feel foolish or stupid? Does your doctor keep you in the waiting room for several hours before every appointment? Do you have to leave several messages with the receptionist before you get a call back?

Remember, there’s nothing more important than your health. If your doctor doesn’t take your health seriously, find a new doctor who does. Get referrals from people you trust, and don’t be afraid to ask for the medical care you deserve – even if it means changing doctors.

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