If Your Doctor Misses the Mark
If your doctor doesn't have all of the qualities you would like, there may be things you can do to improve the relationship. Just as you work at other relationships, you can work at having a good relationship with your doctor.
Learn what you can about your disease and its treatment. Come to your appointments with information to discuss and a list of questions you want to ask. Put your most pressing questions on the top of the list and realize that you may not have time to discuss all of them. Ask if your doctor answers questions by email or has someone on staff to answer questions.
Keep notes of your symptoms and any treatments you have tried, including over-the-counter medications and nutritional supplements. Be honest -- let your doctor know how you are feeling and don't be afraid to admit if you have missed a dose of medicine.
If your doctor is not on your insurance plan, ask your doctor -- and your insurer -- if he can be added to it.
If you don't think your doctor is right for you or has the experience you need, look for another. Check with the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America or American College of Gastroenterology for doctors in your area who treat Crohn's disease. Check with your insurance provider. Ask your primary care doctor or friends for recommendations. Check credentials.
If there is more than one gastroenterologist in your area, call the offices of the ones you are considering and ask questions that will help you narrow your choices. These might include:
- Are there other professionals on staff, such as a dietitian or mental health professional?
- Is the doctor in a solo practice or part of a group?
- If the doctor is in a solo practice, who covers for her when she is off?
- At what hospital(s) does the doctor have admitting privileges?
- How many Crohn's patients does he treat?
If you still have more than one choice, schedule an appointment to talk to each. This process can take some time and effort, but Crohn's is a serious diseases. It's worth the effort to find a doctor who can provide the care you need.