Brenda Della Casa had been seeing her primary care physician for two years
and had brushed off her concerns about getting rushed care - until she had a
health scare she couldn’t ignore. She told her doctor she was experiencing
terrible back pain and stomachaches. Her doctor checked her, said she was fine,
and sent her on her way.
Five days later, Della Casa, an author and dating coach in Chicago, was
traveling and had pains so severe she could barely move. When she received a
voicemail from her doctor saying she had “misread her results” and needed to be
treated immediately for a kidney infection, she was furious. “I decided then
and there I would never see her again,” Della Casa tells WebMD.
Each month WebMD the Magazine puts your questions about weight loss
and fitness to top exercise and motivational experts. This month, John Harvey,
an 86-year-old retired physician, asked for help beginning a fitness routine.
Harvey moved with his wife to a retirement community in Bethesda, Md., about a
year ago. He's never been obese, but at 225 pounds he's leaning more on his
cane and is unsteady on his feet. For advice, we turned to Anthony Absalon, a
fitness trainer at Fox Hill Senior Living...
Breaking up with your doctor is not a choice most people take lightly, but
there may come a time when it's the single best decision for you and your
health. Some patients have had complaints that have been mounting over the
years. Others decide to fire their doctor after one heated episode - perhaps
because of a missed diagnosis like Della Casa, a disagreeable interaction, or a
health concern that was dismissed.
"Patients don’t want to break up with their doctor," says Gregory Makoul,
PhD, Chief Academic Officer at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in
Hartford, Conn. "They will often put up with a relationship that isn’t going
great for them."
But that may be a mistake.
"It’s critical to remember it’s a relationship," Makoul tells WebMD. "People
often think it’s a one-way relationship, but the doctor is invested, too. If
you think it’s a business transaction, you’re missing an important part of the
Wait, Can You Hear Me Now?
Ann Middleman, a marketing research consultant in Westbury, N.Y., had been
seeing the same ob-gyn for more than eight years. During a routine check-up,
she was surprised to learn she had gained 10 pounds. When she asked if her
thyroid should be checked, her question was dismissed. Instead, the doctor
responded, "You eat too much!"
After the appointment, Middleman wrote a letter to the office explaining
that the doctor had been rude and insensitive so she would no longer need her
services. "I don’t consider myself too demanding," she says. "I expect somebody
to treat me with respect, honesty, and politeness -- someone who talks to me
like I'm a human being."
The most common complaint, when these conflicts arise, is that people feel
like they’re not being heard or understood, says George Blackall, PsyD, author
of Breaking the Cycle: How to Turn Conflict Into Collaboration When You and
Your Patients Disagree and professor of pediatrics and humanities at Penn
State University College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa.