Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Are you a cautious patient?

What is your style—the doctor recommends, you do it? You research and discuss first? You argue? You find another doctor?

I have to say that over the years, I have become very skeptical about doctors and care. I have been dizzy and the ER and urgent care sent me to an Ear specialist. The first thing he did was shush me—“I don’t care about three years ago, what about now?”

Flag on the play.

Then came a hearing test and hard upsell to a hearing aid. Not why I was there!

Yes, they could schedule the inner ear tests—another copay. I left. I called my plan. They said you can try another ENT—I am going to! Two more copays—whatEVER!

I have learned about a group call the Cautious Patient Foundation founded by a physician named Carolyn Oliver, MD, JD. Go to

Doctors are human, they may not keep up, read the journals, their pay depends on procedures or sales (face cream, hearing aids). This group offers a lot of downloadable info on how to stay out of trouble in the hospital, how to get good care as an outpatient, how to deal with your doctor via cellphone, and other topics.

It’s a paradox—when you feel the lousiest, you need to do the most research.

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