If You Don't Like Your Doctors - Can You Still Trust Them?

by Curtis Graham - Date: 2007-04-10 - Word Count: 1492 Share This!

Outrageous! How could anyone trust a doctor they detest, or at the very least, don't like? You must have run into hundreds of traveling companions, friends, neighbors, and casual acquaintances who have given you an earful of bad medical treatment by doctors, including doctors they don't trust or like.

Medical patient frustrations don't end there---unfortunately!

It sure makes you think about it! That earful immediately triggers a mental comparison to your own medical doctor. Over time, story by story, a subtle antagonism develops towards all doctors. Can you trust "any" of them? And maybe your doctor is the one exception?

Some contributing factors that have created this distrust are:

The increasingly litigious nature of our society today, and in the past 30 years. If so many malpractice suits are being filed against doctors, they must be making a lot of mistakes---right?

Media publication, reporting, and investigations of the most severe and intolerable physician's mistakes, complications, and unintentional adverse happenings in patient care add fuel to the fire.

The public tendency to project each bad result in medical care to all the other good doctors who treat patients exceedingly well.

Stories about personal experiences with bad results are spread to hundreds or even thousands of others over time. Not the good ones, just the bad ones!

The advent of "quickie" office visits has promoted dissatisfaction with care that is perceived to be inadequate and superficial.

The persistent unfounded expectation that doctors are supposed to be perfect and never make mistakes.

Physician mistakes (doctor errors) must be punished severely---no excuses! Being human and making mistakes is unacceptable.

Where lack of trust of doctors has brought us today:

If you can attest to any of the issues listed above, you may have your own axe to grind. But, you will have to do it soon in view of the decline in numbers of medical doctors practicing in the USA. Doctors are quitting practice 20 years sooner than one would expect of any professional. Why is that?

As the population increases and the number of doctors decreases, reliance on foreign doctors, mid-level providers (CNMs, NPs, PAs, and CNAs), and outpatient homecare by nurses are what you are looking at more of for medical care in the near future. They are already here. Most are now an integral part of medical care we can't do without.

So, you may have already noticed that your care is slowly being transferred over to non-physician health care providers. Can you trust them more or less than a doctor? With less knowledge, ability, and experience than doctors, common sense says you probably will have less trust in your medical care from them----or not?

Your lack of trust in your doctor creates the following consequences:

It will take a long time after that, for you to trust any doctor.

You won't believe what the doctor tells you.

You will be hesitant to follow the doctor's instructions.

You will gradually move from distrust to anger with your doctor.

You'll find many reasons to skip appointments beyond the usual ones.

You feel that you are being overcharged for what you get.

You will soon believe you are not receiving good care.

You won't refer friends or associates to this doctor.

Eventually, you will have to change doctors.

You wonder why you put yourself through all this torment.

If you don't trust your doctor---you don't like the doctor either!

Your dislike for your doctor can't be hidden. You may cover it up with pleasant conversation, compliments, or friendly smiles, but your body language, voice pattern, speech mannerisms, and facial expressions will tell a different story to the doctor, who is used to "reading" patient's non-verbal communications.

Because the doctor is no different from any of us, responses are similar to what you would do when you are around someone who doesn't like you. Of course, the doctor's reaction will be more subtle---even polite.

Think about these responses to your dislike:

You may get a floppy quick handshake when he/she enters the room---and maybe a boring greeting---but both are not the kind you give to a friend.

Your visit with the doctor will be focused directly to the point of your complaint, no social talk, no extended advice or instructions that other patients are used to---and get.

If you have several health issues, only one will be handled each visit. The less time in the room with someone who doesn't like you, the better.

Doctors do not cater to those patients who don't trust them or dislike them. Doctors have enough stress without having to deal with a distrustful patient. They don't need you!

It is well known throughout the medical profession that patients who dislike their doctor, or don't trust their doctor, commonly are the ones that eventually file malpractice suits. Think about it.

Phone calls with medical questions are not returned, or one of the office staff will respond sometimes. Every member of the office staff knows what is going on between you and the doctor, and you will get the cold shoulder from them as well--in a polite way, of course.

Doctors understand in these situations that whatever they do to please a patient who doesn't like them, doesn't work. So why try? They don't!

If the situation becomes a significant problem for the office, you will be told to find another doctor---sometimes even before you have considered doing that. Would that surprise you?

Dislike of a doctor or anyone is irreversible!

Rarely does the dislike of a person disappear. It is an indescribable phenomenon in many cases because it may be subconscious. No reason for it at all, but it's there. Most of us have met someone for the first time and had an instant dislike for them. Why?

One can relate it to a 6th sense. Our brain does its own spam filtering. Our mental computer puts every megabyte of information together in a millisecond and spits out to our conscious mind a warning. The computed information indicates that a continued interaction with this person has a high probability of conflict.

What you do with the warning is up to you.

The other kind of dislike is one that develops over time. Usually an obvious reason for it floats to the surface. It rarely happens. But if you have the intestinal fortitude to confront the doctor face to face about what is disturbing you, it can be resolved---maybe!

Resolution of the problem depends on the doctor's sensitivity to your plea. You never know what response you'll get. It may be a condescending attitude agreeing to your terms of surrender, or it may be a loud verbal outburst heard at the other end of the office. Expect anything!

Most of the time the doctor will bend over backwards not to start a conflict and are reasonable. Since we all are creatures of habit, agreeing to your terms of treatment is easy for the doctor at the time, but usually is forgotten soon after---and everything resorts to the previous situation.

And that's why even here, it doesn't work, and the old feelings of dislike return.

For example, if the problem was that the doctor was always explaining things rapidly and using big words you didn't understand, and you went home every time confused about which medication to take, you would constantly put yourself at risk.

The doctor then agrees to always speak to you in a slow manner using everyday words you can understand. By the second visit after that, he is back to the old tactic----forgot about the issue with this one patient.

From a practical point of view, if a doctor has made 30 different agreements with 30 different patients about 30 different issues, how can he remember them? Yes---big red letters across the front of the chart.

Doctors will not play this game!

It's a complete waste of time for a doctor to spend his time catering to the whims of patients that are unhappy with his way of practicing. You can't please everyone. But all doctors try.

It all comes down to one of three solutions:

1. Find another doctor as soon as the feeling of dislike begins!

2. Find another doctor immediately in order to avoid the conflicts that will soon inevitably appear.

3. Find another doctor stat, so you can leave the previous doctor under pleasant conditions. Leaving under hostile conditions will harm you in many ways--not the doctor.

You catch my drift? To answer the original question:

If you dislike your doctor, then you don't trust the doctor either.

If you dislike and don't trust your doctor, the doctor will know it, but can be trusted to give you "appropriate medical care."

Appropriate medical care means here that the doctor who accepts you into his practice has an obligation to diagnose and treat you in a professional and proper way. But there is no obligation to do any more for you than is absolutely necessary. The doctor's "passive resistance" approach to your medical care becomes intolerable FAST!

Joy, temperance, and repose, Slam the door on the doctor's nose.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Related Tags: medical treatment, doctors, hea, medical doctors, physician mistakes, find doctor, patient advocate

The author, Curt Graham, is a retired medical doctor who has written extensively on many topics over his 35 plus years in active medical practice as a specialist in OB-GYN. He has been published in Modern Physician, and is credited as an "Expert Author" by EzineArticles.com directory. Go to his website for more detailed and expanded articles concerning obtaining better health care, among others:

http://www.HealthCare-Toolbox.com Please feel free to copy, send, or distribute this article as long as the article is not changed, and the author bio resource box is included with the article as written. Copyright 2005, L & C Internet Enterprises, Inc., Curt Graham, All Rights Reserved.

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