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How To Deal With Bumps In The Doctor/Patient Relationship

There Are Continuing Disagreements Between You And The Doctor

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  • Pinpoint the cause of the disagreement (such as the doctor wants to make decisions for you, or you're not told everything you want to know.)
  • Rather than letting the problem color your discussions, or come up at an inappropriate time, let the doctor know you're having a problem. Set a meeting to discuss the problems you're having or time to discuss them during your next visit.

Before the meeting:

  • Decide on the outcome you want. For example, is your preference to stay with the doctor or to switch. (If you're considering switching, see Switching Doctors.)
  • Plan what you want to talk about, and how you will talk about it.
  • Rehearse what you want to say and how you want to say it. If you would be more comfortable, write a letter and make sure it's received before your next visit.
  • Deal with one problem at a time.
  • Think about what objections the doctor may have and prepare answers for them. Never assume the doctor has objections unless and until you hear them.
  • Keep in mind that differences in opinion can usually be worked through if you're prepared to negotiate differences.
  • Decide what consequences will occur if the disagreement remains, and how to best communicate those consequences to the doctor.
  • If any documentation is involved, send or drop off a copy of it to the doctor before the meeting and let him know you want to discuss it at the meeting.

If the problem isn't resolved, consider switching doctors. See Switching Doctors.

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