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Is it time to change your infertility doctor? Changing your infertility doctor is sometimes the best choice if you feel unsatisfied with the treatment. Find out how to get a second opinion and shift to a more efficient solution.

I often have to provide a shoulder to cry on for my patients. Many of them are very unhappy with their previous doctors, and since I am a doctor too, I listen carefully to their tales of woe, to try to make sure I don't make the same mistakes with my patients !

Here are some of the things patients hate about doctors. If you encounter these repeatedly, maybe it's time for you to look for another ( better ! ) doctor.

  • Endless waits -
    routinely, for no rhyme or reason. Many doctors seem to take a perverse pride in making patients wait. Patients need to be patient, but not in a doctor's "waiting" room ! This just reflects poor time management on the part of the doctor.
  • No explanations.
    Doctors are very used to having their orders being followed, so they just tell their patients what to do, without explaining what or why.
  • No discussion of options
    Many doctors are still very authoritarian, and expect blind obedience from their patients. They refuse to consider alternatives - or to discuss these.
  • Rude behaviour
    Doctors like to project how busy they are and how valuable their time is, so they are often rude and inconsiderate. Perversely, their ability to keep patients "in their place" makes them feel important !
  • Not explaining the cost
    Some doctors think it is below their dignity to talk about crass matters such as money - while others use this as an excuse to extract every last penny they can from their patients. Patients expect to pay for medical services - they just need to know how much the cost is, so they can budget for it !
  • No privacy
    Some doctors believe in "multi-tasking" in order to improve their efficiency and their "patient through-put " - so they will often talk to two-three patients at one time. The least patients expect is undivided attention for a few minutes - but they often fail to get even this !
  • Not listening
    Many doctors feel they "know-it-all" and do not even bother to listen to the patient's perspective or feelings. Patients feel cheated when they cannot unburden themselves.
  • When the chemistry is not right
    I just received a thoughtful email from a patient, who said - " I drive my current doctor crazy. I question everything and I just can't follow orders until I actually agree to follow them. " Many doctors still prefer passive patients who agree to do what they are told to. Unfortunately, what they don't realise is that these quiet passive patients are often the ones who don't "follow orders" - they are the ones who are non-compliant. While it is true that it does take longer to talk to active, questioning patients, they are the ones who are much more co-operative and compliant, once they agree with the treatment plan, because they have played an active part in its formulation !

Many senior doctors continue with these bad habits - partly because they can get away with this behaviour, and partly because they don't know any better. Unless patients learn to speak up for their rights, matters will never improve.

I can understand why poor patients put up with such behaviour. Beggars can't be choosers, and they are so grateful for any care they receive at government hospitals, that they don't expect any better. But why do rich patients, who pay large fees to their doctors in posh hospitals tolerate such rudeness ? Unless patients learn to get off their knees, doctors will remain comfortably ensconced on their pedestals !

Patients are unnecessarily scared of changing doctors. They feel that their doctor will be "hurt"; or that "he knows my case" and therefore they should stick to him. Sometimes, a fresh re-assessment makes a world of a difference !

I often see patients who have received poor quality medical care. When I ask them why their doctor did a particular procedure ( which was not necessary), they look non-plussed - and the standard answer is - "Because the doctor told me to !" When I enquire why they didn't check to see if the doctor's advise was correct, their stock reply is - "But I had faith in my doctor !"

Yes, it is important to have faith in your doctor - and to trust him. But you need to be careful in whom you repose your faith ! If you find a good doctor, your faith will be amply repaid - but what if you choose a bad doctor ? Unfortunately, patients are often not good at differentiating between good and bad doctors - and blind faith can prove to be expensive ! This is why it's a good idea to do your homework before going to your doctor - and also to verify everything he tells you independently. Doing your "due diligence" will pay off !

You have a lot at stake when you go through infertility treatment. It's important for you to choose a doctor you feel comfortable with, so you have peace of mind that you did your best, no matter what the final outcome. If you aren't happy with your present doctor, it's time to look for alternatives. Everyone is allowed to make a mistake once - and you may have been unlucky with your initial selection. However, there's no excuse for making the same mistake twice ! Learn from your mistakes and do a better job, rather than suffer in silence, and then kick yourself later on. Blaming the doctor for your failure does not help !

 

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