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getting a doctor to listen to you?

is it just me or do doctors totally dismiss anything you have to say? "Oh, I see you have been looking this up on the internet!"

Wed. Aug 29, 4:46pm

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It's a hard interaction to figure out. Visits are short in time and number, yet they are important. I try and not overwhelm them information or be overwhelmed by them with information. In terms of internet info, I generally do not trust everything I read. Especially for medical stuff you want to make sure you have a reliable source. I would try starting the conversation by asking for their recommondation for good, trustworthy internet sites to use.

However if your gut instinct is telling you that are really not comfortable talking to them then you need to find a new doctor. Not all personalities mesh and that applies to the doctor-patient relationship in a big way.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007, 6:17 PM

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Especially if you live in smaller town with only one doctor who's a general practicitioner, your doctor may not always know what they're talking about. Go with your gut feeling, if you're not sure if they're giving you what you need, find someone else. I ended up driving 1.5 hours to another doctor because mine told me nothing was wrong....but he was wrong, there was an infection! You know your body better than anyone - although doctors still know a lot more than you! And like the above poster, don't always trust the internet....

Wednesday, August 29, 2007, 7:09 PM

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If I feel like my doctor doesn't get me or isn't really listening to what I'm telling them . . .it's time for a new doctor!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007, 10:27 PM

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as a medical student, i was really interested in reading this thread. if you're doctor genuinely doesn't listen (which I've seen), the above posters are right - you need a new one!

However, it is impossible for us to keep up on every internet article about something new. If you bring a copy for us to look over during your visit, that makes things go a lot easier. My opinion is that medicine is a combination of your preferences and my ability to do what I can medically for you....not just the dr being the boss/know it all.

i agree - if it's yourself or your kids - you know best and don't let them talk you out of something that you are concerned about.

Thursday, August 30, 2007, 9:50 AM

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they probably hear all day long from people who have nothing better to do than watch tv, hear about some new affliction, check out the internet and then call the doctor with panicked ideas about what they might be suffering from. many people prefer the idea of having something legitimately, medically wrong with them rather than the notion of just being lazy or tired or disorganized, or stressed or whatever. it takes the "heat" off, so to speak. and they also dispense adivce all day long that patients disregard because of something they may have read or heard elsewhere. it's gotta be frustrating to be ignored and told how to do your job by people who take up time that you could spend with actual sick people who will follow directions that they came to you for in the first place.

Thursday, August 30, 2007, 10:00 AM

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Goodness on the 10:00 poster! What an attitude. I really appreciated the posting from the med student at 09:50. very to the point and helpful in building a working relationship with your Dr. I have found for me that a nurse practioner is the answer. They, in general, are more tuned in to their pts and better at listening. They have or make a little more time for you.

Thursday, August 30, 2007, 11:09 AM

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you don't appreciate the tone of my innocent expression of my opinion in defense of what some doctors deal with. ok. but don't accuse me of having an attitude based on the way you "hear" my comments in your head. the written word can be deceiving depending on the reader. i meant no offense. and i stand by my shared opinion. i'm not criticising anyone for their opinion even if i disagree. i'm merely sharing my own viewpoint in the context of the discussion. the comments i made are legitimate reasons why some docotrs do not listen to some patients.

Thursday, August 30, 2007, 11:17 AM

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I guess I have a great doctor. Unfortunately doctors today, especially in large practices have quotas on how many patients they see in a day. So yes, most of them are fast, in and out and don't seem to take the time to listen to the patient. You have to really look for one that you like and who isn't in such a rush. You need to be a voice in your care and they should respect that and want you to voice your concerns and opinions. As far as internet goes, you must make sure any info you get is from a reputable source. There are way too many false sites out there with quacks giving info. And don't jump to conclusions, a lot of the same symptoms can be a number of different things.

Thursday, August 30, 2007, 11:56 AM

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Over the years of my life (and I'm older than most here), the quality of interaction specifically with primary care has gotten much worse. I think one factor is that the instruction in clinical interviewing that they receive is getting in the way of acquiring and understanding a multifactorial presentation. As a patient, you cannot actually work with a doctor who is following Coulehan and Block. I'm making a distinction specifically between "respond to" and "work with". It's an opaque process in which the dialogue between physician and patient ideally contains nothing other than the physician fishing for tiny tokens of response with, as they hope, as little accompanying time-eating crapola as possible. The office staffs by and large are a force for evil, regulating time and information flows, and can stay that way because of the insurance-driven pacing of everything that happens and the doctors' fear of engaging the insurance process. The doctors are not in charge, and are half ignorant, half not, of what goes on.
So, I have discontinued using primary "care". If I know I need a procedure from a specialist, I'll go directly there, wait my several months to get in, and usually the right thing gets done fairly soon. Everything else either gets better or worse or stays the same, as the case may be. I have numerous chronic conditions about which I'd like to consult a doctor, but that doesn't seem practical, so I just don't. To the extent I have to engage others because of referral processes or the like, I try to do it by writing and mailing a letter to the doctor, attaching copies of abstracts from PubMed in the infrequent case where journal articles are likely to make a difference.
I feel for anyone like the med student on the thread, people who have the right instincts but will probably be crushed by institutional pressure in time.

Thursday, August 30, 2007, 3:43 PM

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finding a good doc is tough!

My doctor and I don't always agree, but she is open to discussion and debate which I think is great (and she makes the time for this).

People sure can look things up on the internet, and a good doctor will explain to you their reasoning without being dismissive. But I think if you've been doing some research, you need to be well enough informed about the topic to have a real discussion/ debate with your doctor. And a good doctor will see that you've done real research and likewise be open to the discussion.

Like the earlier poster said, I certainly feel for doctors who get "i read this on the internets" patients who are just worrying over misinformation rather than being truly informed.

My doctor was out on maternity leave and one of the doctors covering for her kept me waiting 50 minutes and then didn't want to answer my questions, trying to cut our 15-minute meeting short (and this was a follow up after a pretty serious ER-visit diagnosis). I let the staff know - politely and diplomatically - that I wasn't interested in ever seeing that doctor again.

Like an earlier poster said, you just don't get the kind of attention you used to. It's tiring, but you have to be very proactive about your health care.

Great advice from the med student there, too.

Thursday, August 30, 2007, 6:55 PM

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Primary care physicians can be replaced with nurse and a good software program and a backup triage system that connects you to a team of doctors who collectively can route you to the right specialist much better than the primary care doctor could.

The internet might be incomplete right now, but at some point it will contain the knowledge systems necessary for fairly advanced self-diagnosis capability. You need to look at both the trend and the problem. And the problem is that primary care doctors are people with limited knowledge about the complex medical specialties who are simultaneously beholden to the insurance companies.

Someone is going to come along and break the stranglehold that the health insurance companies have on America. And we will all be healthier and wealthier as a result.

Thursday, August 30, 2007, 7:44 PM

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There is a distinct difference and hole in your opinion and a very obvious point that you are missing and that is....The Dr. is being paid to listen to ALL of his patients complaints every last one, it makes no difference if he feels it is a valid complaint of not, a doc should first open his ears and his mind and close his mouth, then he should examine his patient as though it was as serious as the one before because it is his job to do so and his duty as a professional to his client.

Friday, January 30, 2009, 8:33 AM

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Doctors "hear" you, they just don't have time to be a sounding board for patients or to debate issues or argue with them. And they don't have time to give patients the equivalent of their four year of University studies, plus four years of medical school, plus at least three years of residency training.

Also it has been documented that 15 minutes after a patient has left the doctor's office, they have forgotten 90% of what they were told.




Friday, January 30, 2009, 12:55 PM

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most of the time the reason patients forget "90%" of what they're told is because (in my experience) the dr. is in such a hurry to get you the hell out of his/her office they talk faster than a jackrabbit as you try to absorb the information and not interrupt or dispute him/her. it's actually quite frustrating.

Thursday, August 27, 2009, 4:49 AM

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Dr. afraid patient might outsmart him or her.

My concern is that after 23 years of trying to get a doctor to actually listen to my full list of symptoms, which can actually be tied to one condition and finally finding the answer on my own via intensive research through library access to peer reviewed medical journals, my new doctor still doesn't want to listen. Even though the tests I have requested show clearly that I do indeed have the disorder, the man is still convinced it is all in my head. He refuses to read the literature that would explain the disorder. He did allow me to have a prescription for medication to treat it and I am a new person as a result. Still he remains convinced that it is a placebo effect. This despite the fact that the medication has even stopped the excessive hairgrowth, balding, fatigue, muscle aches, muscle spasms, and edema I was suffering. I realize that thinking something will work can indeed make it happen temporarily, yet I don't see how my mind could make whiskers stop growing on my chin. My insurance will not provide for an endocrinologist and the heart doctor I am seeing doesn't want to get to the root of the problem, because once again I am being labeled crazy or hypochondriac. Any suggestions on how to get a doctor to listen? I am working on my M. S. degree and I feel that I am intimidating doctors with my knowledge on the subject. The truth is I am just doing what I have to do to find the answer myself, because I am weary of being sick.

Friday, April 16, 2010, 12:26 AM

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Medicine isn't what it use to be. The government and attorneys are to blame for that. It's going to get a lot, LOT worse with the health care bill that was just passed. You will look back on what we have now as the good old days!

As it is, doctors are very pressed for time; they know much more about the human body than their patients; they can't teach patients 11 years of college pre med, medical school, and residency in a 15 or 30 minute appointment; many patients are overly verbose and can't express themselves adequately; patients tend to want to hear only what they want to hear; patients prefer to believe what the mother-in-law of their next door neighbor's bridge partner tells them rather than what their doctor tells them; and studies have shown that patients have forgotten 90% of what their doctor told them 15 minutes after they left their doctor's office.

Friday, April 16, 2010, 1:04 AM

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Then there is the other side when the patient is right and the doctor is wrong.

Like when I knew there was something wrong with my husband, but the doctor refused to admit I was right. I had read countless medical books and articles on the subject, and I was sure I was right. Three doctors and two years later we finally found a doctor who would listen, and she put my husband on the appropriate medications for that disorder and now he's doing much better. If I had just taken the first doctor's word for it he would never have been diagnosed.

No amount of medical school gives the doctor better qualifications to diagnose you or your loved ones in my opinion. No body knows you like yourself, and if you know something isn't right you need to keep trying doctors until you find one who will listen.

Friday, April 16, 2010, 12:20 PM

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I find this thread extremely interesting. I work for a physician, a neurologist, and one of his patients biggest complaints is that he is ALWAYS running behind schedule. But, the fact of the matter is, he is taking his time with every patient and gives everyone as much attention as they need. He is very thorough and takes time to explain things to his patients and listen to them.
There are good physicians out there, promise! My PCP is the same as the doc I work for. I love them both!

Friday, April 16, 2010, 7:50 PM

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Any one doctor doesn't know everything. If you have a condition that you don't think is being corectly diagnosed, go to another physician - preferably a specialist. You might even have to go to a third or fourth doctor until you get to the bottom of your problem. Persistance pays off. Your health is worth it. Some conditions are difficult to diagnose and/or difficult to treat effectively.

Friday, April 16, 2010, 9:55 PM

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