5 Things Your Doctor Dislikes About You
Don’t be labeled a ‘difficult patient’
by Nissa Simon, AARP Bulletin, December 23, 2011
Ask anyone what’s wrong with the medical profession and you’ll hear a long list of complaints: Too many pricey medications. Forever behind schedule. Always talks, never listens. Rushes me in and out of the examining room.
But people rarely hear what bugs doctors about patients. Their gripes are generally aired as doctors walk the hallways at medical meetings or chat behind closed doors at conferences. Here’s your chance to find out what annoys your doctor.
1. You don’t arrive on time
Here’s a tip: Ask for the first appointment of the day, so you won’t get caught up in other things before the appointment. This also works in the reverse — for doctors who always make you wait.
2. You treat your doctor’s office as your personal assistant
Here’s a tip: If the problem doesn’t directly involve your health, don’t make it your doctor’s or dentist’s responsibility.
3. You don’t admit that you’re not taking your medicine
Doctors become irritated with patients who don’t take their medications. They don’t know that their patients may not understand the directions, believe the drugs aren’t working, experienced severe side effects or can’t get to the pharmacy to fill the prescription.
Here’s a tip: If your doctor gives you a prescription for a medicine that you hesitate to take, ask why you need it, whether a lower dose would work and whether there’s a substitute or less expensive alternative.
4. You diagnose your own medical problem and tell the doctor how to treat it
Doctors grumble about patients who diagnose their own ailments or direct their own treatment. “When patients start diagnosing their own problems, we all have a problem,” says Boston University’s Price. “I just want them to tell me their symptoms.”
Here’s a tip: Ask the doctor’s advice, don’t give him yours.
5. You start asking questions just as the doctor heads out the door
To get the most out of the short time you have for an office visit — anywhere between 15 and 20 minutes at latest count — it pays to come prepared with a list of questions you’d like answered.
Here’s a tip: If you have a lot of questions, there may not be time to answer all of them. Put a star next to the five most important ones and ask those first.
Nissa Simon, who lives in New Haven, Conn., writes about nutrition and medical issues.