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Should You Find a New Doctor?

Updated on September 17, 2013

Reason No. 1 - Unsuccessful Treatments

There is no one size fit all treatment for any disease. People respond to different treatments and medications differently, and sometimes the treatment prescribed by the doctor is based on knowledge, judgement and experience with other patients.

Furthermore, symptoms can overlap across different diseases. For example, one of the most common lung diseases is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it has symtpoms that are comparable to diseases such as Acute Bronchitis, Asthma, Lung Cancer, and Bronchiectasis.

Have You Ever Been Misdiagnosed Before?

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Reason No. 2 - Communication Imbalance

Doctors should really be experts in listening. Their main purpose of being a physician is to diagnose the patients, and ultimately formulate a treatment plan that eliminate or limit the health issues. In far too many instances, however, doctors are not listening as well as they should. Whether it is constant interruptions, multitasking during patients visits, or repeating questions, if the doctor cannot provide their full attention during your visit, there needs to be a consideration in switching to a new doctor.

Commonly Misdiagnosed Diseases

Illness Misdiagnosed As
Fatigue, Kidney Damage, Rash, Joint Pain
Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Lyme Disease
Shortness of Breath, Chest Soreness, Abdominal Cramping, Nausea, Stiff Necks, Twitching on Face or Eyelids
Mononucleosis, Fibromyalgia, Meningitis, Depression, Flu
Multiple Sclerosis
Balance Problems, Muscle Spasms, Blurred Vision, Cognitive Impairment, Lack of Coordination
Alzheimer's Disease, Lupus, Bipolar Disorder, Viral Infection
Parkinson's Disease
Tremors in Extremities or Head, Muscle Stiffness, Balance Problem, Difficulty Walking
Traumatic Head Injury, Stress, Stroke, Alzheimer's Disease, Essential Tremor
Celiac Disease
Vomiting, Diarrhea, Weight Loss, Abdominal Pain and Bloating, Anemia, Leg Cramps
Cystic Fibrosis, Crohn's Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Anxiety, Increased Sensitivity to Pain, Incapacitating Fatigue, Depression
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis

Seek A Second Opinion

Even the best of the best physicians can miss a diagnosis from time to time, it is the nature of the business. In some situations, a diagnosis is merely a "working diagnosis", which is a fancy way to say an educated guess on the medical condition. However, not being able to figure out the problem does not mean you need a new doctor.

For example, professional athletes have available to them some of the best doctors available around the world to ensure their safety and recover from injuries. Even then, many still seek second opinions for their injuries and health scares. Therefore, if there is a persisting medical problem that won't go away, or one that is progressively getting worse, it may not be because of mistreatment from your doctor, rather you might need to seek a second opinion.

Reason No. 3 - Having A Closed-Minded Doctor

Doctors are essentially experts on the human body. In many cases, they can quickly tell you what is wrong with that strange feeling or pain you might be experiencing simply from their knowledge, experience, and expertise.

Despite the doctor's efforts and good intentions, there is no guaranteeing that the initial diagnosis is the correct one. Since different health conditions share many similar symptoms, misdiagnosis just cannot be completed avoided. Therefore, we should not immediately lay the blame on the physicians.

You live with your body 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You are the one who should know your body best with the ability to sense all the subtle pains and issues that doctors might not realize. So any time you can suggest ideas about your health condition to assist your doctor in better diagnosing your medical problem should be welcomed. However, if your doctor is too stubborn in considering your ideas, then it is time to find a new doctor.

Did You Know?

Millions of patients, including someone you might know, are misdiagnosed and are being treated for a wrong health problems. According to a Seattle Times editorial, these misdiagnosis are translating to nearly a billion of wasted money spent on health care each year. More importantly, the Mayo Clinic found that 26 percent of the cases were misdiagnosed, while that number increases to 44 percent when it comes to certain types of cancer.

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Reason No. 4 - Doctor's Personality

In the perfect world, the doctor would be very kind, listen attentively, and be considerate to all the patients. Unfortunately, we do not live in an robotic world where every doctor visit is the same experience. In fact, some doctors' personality may clash with the patient's right away, making them appear rude and arrogant.

Whether you are experiencing medical problems or not, no one should need to deal with anyone who doesn't treat others with respect. No matter how great the doctor is, the doctor-patient relationship is equally, if not more, important. So, if the family doctor you frequently visit is the type who talk to patients, staff, or anyone else in a condescending way, then there should be no hesitation in finding a new doctor.

Warning Signs That You Need A New Doctor

  1. Doctor blaming age as the reason for health problems while dismissing other causes
  2. Saying there is nothing that can be done
  3. Writing prescription or assigning treatment without much discussion
  4. Referring patient to different specialists without much results
  5. Too distracted on the job

Tips To Choose A New Doctor

If you have decided a change of doctor is what's best for you and your loved ones, here are a few tips from the consumer reports.

  • Make sure the new doctor is covered by your health plan
  • Get referrals from trusted people as friends, family, or even from another doctor
  • Understand if you need a general doctor, or a specialist for your medical needs
  • Check the credentials of the new doctor
  • Prepare questions to ask about yourself and your needs
  • Prepare questions for the potential doctor

If you follow the tips above, you are well on your way to finding a new doctor that is compatible to you and your loved ones!


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