A good relationship with your physician is essential to your health. Poor communication and a lack of trust can cause avoidable errors. It can even lead to negligence and medical malpractice.
What are some of the biggest roadblocks to positive patient-doctor relationships? There are many reasons people don't have good experiences with health care clinicians, but below are four common ones.
1. The doctor doesn't care about you
The doctor may care about your condition. But you can tell when a doctor does not care about you personally. Maybe he has a bad attitude whenever you come in and makes you feel stupid for asking questions. Maybe she has a poor bedside manner and you leave feeling disappointed every time.
When your doctor doesn't care, communication breaks down. Can you really trust the doctor to work hard on your behalf when he or she can't even be pleasant to you in the office?
2. The doctor never actually listens to you
You may feel like your doctor has heard enough from patients over the years and doesn't need to listen to you. Whenever you start talking, you may be interrupted or cut off. Even when your doctor pretends to listen, it's not sincere.
A doctor who listens poorly can make critical errors. You know your body and your symptoms. If a physician ignores you and overlooks important information you're providing, it can lead to a misdiagnosis or improper treatment.
3. You feel disrespected
Maybe one of your doctors makes you feel like a number on a list, not a person. Maybe you try to tell the doctor what you know, and he or she brushes you off, telling you not to look things up online.
Doctors should treat you with care and respect. While a doctor may discourage you from self-diagnosis based on Google searches, that does not mean you deserve rude or unprofessional treatment.
4. The wait times are simply too long
When you go to the doctor's office, it can feel urgent. Perhaps you are in significant pain and you need treatment right away. Maybe your doctor always seems too busy to see you. Perhaps you have to wait for two hours to talk to them for five minutes -- and you still don't get a thorough answer.
The problem may be that the doctor has too many patients. This can lead to confusion, rushed visits and medical mistakes. Maybe it's time to find a different doctor.
What can you do if there was a serious mistake?
Sometimes real negligence occurs at the hands of a physician. If you or a loved one suffered harm because a doctor made mistakes or provided substandard care, it may be time to learn about your legal options.