Friday, July 02, 2010

At the doctor, never assume


When you finally see the doctor, do you assume he or she will ask you everything needed to decide what to do? In my experience, they ask, “Why are you here?” and when you start the litany, they stop you.

I have actually had doctors make the cutoff signal from sports or the basketball traveling signal for “hurry up.” I have also brought a letter outlining my two issues quickly. They won’t look at it.

Writing in Consumer Reports on Health, neurologist Orly Avitzur, MD (July 2010) advises asking the doctor how many of the procedure you need her or she has done.

I just read some stats that said the outcomes on joint replacements were much better if the doctor did 50 a year than 12 a year. Yes, it’s like asking, “Do you know how to do this?” Is it the doctor’s body? No. Ask.

Ask if you have a choice of hospitals? Ask about infection rates. If the doctor doesn’t know, find out how to get them—call the hospital.

Make sure all the people involved are on your insurance. Oh, this is a hot one! Often the ER doctor groups don’t take certain insurance (did you think they were on the hospital’s staff—silly puppy!). Anesthesiologists, especially, like to send big bills.

Ask if there is generic for the medicine recommended (and which you checked out and decided to take). If you start on brand-name samples, you will have to switch anyway after they wake you from your sticker shock fainting episode.

Ask how long you will feel crappy after a procedure? Do you need rehab? Can someone help you at home? Can the doctor’s staff help you arrange that? What about a walker? Etc. Etc.

If you sit there like a blob, letting Dr Welby figure it out for you, you will be hating life.

1 comment:

Star Lawrence said...

If they cut you off and won't listen, how do you ask all these questions? Got me.