Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Doctors are human, aka...they don't know everything!

Anyone close to me knows that I am a staunch advocate of patient activism in one's own personal health care. I, and many friends and family, have had doctors blow off legitimate concerns only to be proven wrong months down the road.

I heard this story last night on FOX News, and found the following link describing one woman's frustrating battle with her doctor:

As reported in this news article, a Czech patient underwent surgery for some gynecological issues. Then, for five months after the surgery, she complained to her doctor that she was suffering from major abdominal pain. For months, the doctor dismissed her and recommended pain medications. Finally, and I mean finally, the doctor requested an abdominal X-ray. What did they find? A foot long surgical tool in left inside her abdominal cavity since the surgery 5 months earlier!

What's the take home message? You should speak up and move-on! If your doctor doesn't listen to your concerns, dump him! If he wont incorporate your intuition and symptom reporting, or he makes you feel like it's all a figment of your imagination, dump him! If he doesn't make you feel that your health and well-being are his number one priority, then the fact of the matter is that you are not his priority.

Look, it's not just the doctor's fault. They're often overworked. But there are plenty of other doctors out there that will make the time for you and who will give you the kind of doctor-patient relationship that's right for you.

Finally, at the end of the day, doctors are human and make mistakes. Unfortunately, sometimes you can't afford the delay. I would strongly recommend that you don't simply trust your one doctor's opinion. You've probably heard it before, but get a second opinion and find a doctor that will listen and help you.

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