Kidney Disease
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9 Reasons to Break Up With Your Doctor

I found this article today on HealthGrades. See if you find yourself in here. I know I did.

By Jennifer Braico

While we don’t take vows within our doctor-patient relationships, they are still significant partnerships—in sickness and in health. Most people value doctors who are caring, determined, intelligent, humble, passionate and are good listeners. While every provider has an occasional bad day, over time doctors are with us for the high and low points of our lives, so it’s worth finding the ones you feel confident will take the best care of you.

As you evaluate your relationship with your current doctor, pay attention to these red flags:

Your opinions and questions don’t seem welcome. We all know doctors are smart—but is ego getting in the way? Some doctors might refuse to address your alternative ideas or questions about a different treatment. If you want an open dialogue and your doctor dismisses you without discussion, it might be a sign it’s time to move on.

Your doctor seems checked out. If your doctor treats you like a number—just going through the motions—it could be time to find someone more engaging. As with a romance gone stale, nobody likes feeling taken for granted. Is the doctor spending more time with the computer than with you? Regardless of the doctor’s other responsibilities that day, she should take the time to focus on you and listen to your concerns.

Your personalities don’t mesh. Some people prefer physicians who are all business and unemotional, while others want one who always asks about Aunt Sally. It’s really up to your own comfort level and how often you see the doctor. You might be OK with a poker-faced specialist you’ll see every six months, but draw the line at a pediatrician whom you’ll see often and doesn’t relate well to your kids.

Your doctor’s medical staff is incompetent or rude. Your health may be in danger in the hands of an unskilled, inattentive staff. Doctors rely on office personnel, and if their staff doesn’t alert them to your phone call, you might not get a call back. If they lose your test results, fail to order tests, or don’t remember to refill your prescriptions, it’s time to speak up. Share your experience with the head nurse or the practice administrator. Give your doctor a chance to address a rude staff member, but if the problem persists, look elsewhere.

Ordering tests without an explanation. “Because I said so” can be an acceptable answer from a parent to a child, but not from a doctor to a patient. Ask why your doctor wants to perform certain blood tests, scans or other diagnostic evaluations, even if the answer may be upsetting. You’ll want to know about possible diagnoses and the cost involved with tests. If he offers no explanation—or one you’re not comfortable with—seek a second opinion.

Your doctor balks at a second opinion. Seeking a second opinion doesn’t mean you’re questioning your doctor’s judgment. Just as you don’t always take the first mechanic’s word for your car problem, you’re smart to consider all options when it comes to your health. A good doctor will always welcome a second opinion because it means she is prioritizing your health and not protecting her ego.

Your doctor isn’t board certified. While doctors who aren’t board certified can capably care for patients, they haven’t gone the extra mile to prove they are rock stars in their field. Earning board certification means your doctor meets or exceeds nationally recognized standards from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or from other certifying boards. You can check your doctor’s profile on Healthgrades to find out if he or she is board certified or find another doctor who is.

You leave the doctor’s office confused. All of your doctor’s expertise doesn’t mean anything if you don’t understand a word of it. We expect doctors to use medical jargon, but they also should be able to explain things to you in plain English. If you don’t understand something, make sure to ask. But if you still don’t have a clear picture, find a new doctor who’s better at communicating.

Life is too short to dread going to the doctor. We each have enough of our own excuses to delay doctor’s visits; not liking your doctor isn’t a valid one. You can start your search here at Healthgrades to find a trusted doctor who will genuinely care about keeping you healthy—and who’s the right match for your unique needs. And before you say goodbye, make one last phone call to your old doctor’s office for your medical records so your new doctor can know your history and you can get the right care happily ever after.

10 Replies
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Very good post. Had an experience on changing Doctors, only I changed due to moving. I completely trusted a Doctor who had diagnosed a condition improperly. It was not until I got a new Doctor, and diagnosed properly that realized I needed to question the previous Doctor more. Very important to be proactive.

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Good article. I am trying to break up with my doctor and stay in the practice. Evidently, they have to decide if I can. I have an appointment at the davita kidney class the day before my next scheduled appointment with the doctor, so that may very much influence what I do the next day.

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They'll provide you with a workbook and from it and the general conversation during the class you will be provided a lengthy list of questions regarding your CKD and your decision to change should be up to you and not the practice. It's your health so you have to decide if the practice is more important than having advanced information from a doctor who is willing to support your decisions. Best of luck.

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I am already thinking that is the way I may go. I will make one more phone call and if I do not get the response I am looking for, I will be looking for another nephrologist.

Thanks

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It's tough to change doctors. Especially when you may have to go further to find a different one who will be open and honest with you. In the last 13 months, I've gone through 1 Hematologist, 2 Nephrologists, 2 Urologists, and 6 Primary Care Physicians.

I'm very satisfied with the care team I've put together. They include a Nephrologist, Urologist, PCP, Retinal Specialist, Optometrist, Podiatrist, Cardiologist, and a Renal Dietitian. One final thing. It's not just the doctors, it's their nurses and office staff as well.

Since we are in the middle of the Winter Olympics let me borrow a phrase heard often. I have a Gold Medal team working WITH me and it's worth the frustration and anxiety I had to go through to put it together.

Best of luck.

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Great article. One day a physicians assistant I had been seeing at the Veterans Administration medical center called to ask if my (civilian) cardiologist had advised me that I had atrial fibrillation (AFIB). She said it was in his notes to my orthopedic surgeon. He had not. Since I am asymptomatic, I could have died from a stroke without any warning. I got a new electro-cardiologist, and now I'm on Eliquis, an oral blood thinner as a preventive measure.

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You are a walking example of what it means to be pro-active. Keep it up DD.

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This morning I had a phone call from the nephrologist's office saying that the new doctor can see me. Finally, someone asked me why I wanted to find a different doctor. Besides disorganization and asking the same questions over and over, I said that I was not happy with being told that I had chronic kidney disease and nothing more. I listed a note that was sent to my pcp that she could not read. Of course, I was challenged, "because all reports are sent electronically". I had to remind her that the computers were down that day and that no one took the time to transcribe whatever it was that he wrote. I also told her that I still do not know my actual numbers.

Now that I have a new doctor, I would like to pick your brain and the brains of everyone else regarding questions to ask. I know you said I would get some of that when I went to the Kidney Smart Class, but as it stands, my class is on March 13th and the appointment with the nephrologist was on the 14th. I do not yet have a new date. I am open to any and all input so that I can sort through, add to my own questions, and come out with some answers.

I do intend to ask for copies of all reports; I want to know what I was tested for, what is "normal" and what my results are. I want to know how to track my test results, what I can and can't eat based on my test results, how much protein, sodium, potassium and phosphorus I am allowed. I want personalized direction. I have been reading and studying and have come up with my own numbers and my own diet plan, but I want a professional's opinion on this.

I am looking forward to hearing from anyone who cares to give input.

Thank you,

lowraind

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At the very least, ask about your last few labs and where the doctor feels there are some issues for you to deal with. Get as many ways for you to handle those issues and decide what is best.

Bring a list of medications, including OTC ones with you and ask the doctor about any medications and dosages that may not be good for you considering your CKD issues.

Ask about consulting with a Renal Dietitian to set up a meal plan with kidney-friendly meals that align with your lab values for minerals like calcium, protein, potassium, phosphorous, and sodium. Those should be in the labs you've had done and take those with you when you see the Renal Dietitian.

Ask your doctor about an exercise program for you (something you can do during all four seasons) based on your CKD and other health issues.

Add to those questions anything else that comes up during the appointment and be sure you understand everything you are told.

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That was spot on thanks Mr. Kidney and keep up the good work.

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