Doctors perform an essential service for their communities, and this places them in a position that sometimes cannot be contested. And while many doctors are professional, put together, and reliable, like you would expect, some of them just aren’t, and that can negatively affect the care you receive when you go in for your checkup. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you see many of these red flags, consider changing your doctor immediately.
16. Inappropriate Touching
The nature of the job requires doctors to touch their patients. However, there is a fine line between what is necessary and what is inappropriate. While this is generally a problem for female patients, it can happen to men as well. In any case, protective measures you can take include having a nurse present to witness all procedures, but if you are not comfortable with your doctor, that should be reason enough to seek treatment elsewhere, regardless of any inappropriate contact.
15. Messy Office
While it is natural in many professions to have a somewhat cluttered workspace, given the nature of a doctor’s duties, it is crucial to have a clean, well-kept office. This is because infectious agents can build up quite easily in places that are not regularly cleaned and disinfected. Often, it is the ill or those prone to becoming so who are visiting the doctor’s office, which makes it very easy for dangerous infections to spread from one patient to another. A clean space will better protect your health.
14. Not in Your Insurance Network
With the rising cost of healthcare, more and more people are relying on insurance to cover their medical expenses. Insurance allows patients to cover the care they otherwise could not afford, and as such can make a serious difference regarding their quality of life. Make sure that you keep up to date with both your insurance policy as well as the rules and regulations of the clinics you go to for medical treatment. This can keep you from having to pay out of pocket due to nasty surprises, like finding out that a doctor, procedure or treatment is no longer covered under your policy.
13. Overprescribing Antibiotics
Antibiotics are critical for fighting off a host of infections. However, they are not the solution for every illness. As time goes on, more and more infections are growing resistant to antibiotics, mainly due to misuse and overuse. Essentially, misuse of antibiotics only creates stronger infections. Be wary about taking antibiotics, especially for illnesses that seem minor. While antibiotic alternatives are still in development, more often than not, other treatment options, natural remedies, rest, or even dietary changes can help with minor conditions.
12. Not Specialized for Your NeedsRelated: 10 Surprising Facts About Your Blood Test Reports
In some cases, it’s good to know a little bit about everything. This is certainly true of doctors as well, to a point. While a bit of knowledge everywhere can’t hurt for your general check-ups, when it comes to more advanced procedures, the chances are good that you’d prefer a specialist well versed in the procedure at hand, and everything related to it. In general, specialists will outperform other medical professionals in their particular realm of expertise, so be a little wary if your doctor’s skillset seems too diverse or poorly suited to your medical issues.
11. Overlooking Mistakes
We all make mistakes. Sometimes they aren’t a big deal, and some may cause setbacks, but otherwise are salvageable. For doctors and their patients, some mistakes can mean the difference between life and death. Therefore, when a mistake does occur, it’s essential for the doctor to be accountable and resolve the issue as quickly as possible. If you’re dealing with a doctor who can’t acknowledge when they have made a mistake, you may want to reconsider your choice of physicians, as your health could be at serious risk.
10. Keeping You in the Dark
Somewhat related to the previous point, it could spell trouble if your doctor is leaving out relevant information or isn’t telling you anything at all about your health. While shielding patients from the seriousness of their conditions may seem like a compassionate thing, it ultimately puts the patient at higher risk for more serious concerns in the future. In general, it’s best to talk to your doctor openly and honestly about anything that might be a concern to control problems before they cause complications. If your doctor doesn’t do this, at least get a second opinion.
9. OvertestingRelated: 12 Signs You May Have a Kidney Infection
While being in the know is critical for lasting health, that doesn’t mean diving into every possible test and procedure all at once. Sometimes, even the earliest stages of investigating certain symptoms can be quite cost prohibitive. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re paying large sums of money for “false alarm” tests if your symptoms could point to less expensive (and less severe) conditions. More expensive and rigorous testing should be employed only when other options have been ruled out or time is of the essence.
8. No “No”s is a No-no
Nobody likes hearing the word no, particularly when we’re asking for something. You should, however, probably hear no from time to time from your doctor, particularly when it comes to some treatments or procedures. After all, if a doctor makes decisions only to appease you, can you be sure you’re getting the proper care? While it pays to be informed and know what questions to ask, we aren’t healthcare experts, and should expect that sometimes a doctor will disagree with our opinions. A doctor who says yes to everything rather than the occasional refusal (and explanation why) may be more interested in billing you for treatment than providing effective healthcare.
7. No Dialogue
That being said, it’s also important that your doctor listens to you when you raise a concern. At times, it may certainly seem like a fine line to walk. When you are describing symptoms, asking for tests or treatments, or discussing medication, your doctor should be willing to engage with you on these subjects rather than ignoring your concerns, interrupting you, or immediately shutting you down. If your doctor does not make time to talk things over with you, they could be overlooking important indicators of health issues.
6. Discouraging Second OpinionsRelated: 10 Pain Medication Secrets Your Doctor May Not Tell You
It’s not just important to be able to talk to your doctor. You also have to be able to get a second opinion as well, if you so choose. Given that it is your health at stake, you should have access to options. A doctor should be aware of his patient’s right in this regard, and any doctor who discourages you from getting a second opinion is likely a doctor who is not to be trusted, particularly if they are also pushing expensive treatments as well. Medicine is a big deal, and sometimes mistakes are made. Second opinions don’t hurt.
Your health is important, and when mistakes are made, they can have very real consequences. It’s bad enough when a single mistake happens, but if it’s a frequent event, your health can be in serious danger. Such is the case with a misdiagnosis. When you have a condition that is misdiagnosed, you can be wasting money on treatments that may not help your condition, and may have uncomfortable side effects. Furthermore, the real problem may grow worse if it is left untreated. If your doctor makes a habit of misdiagnosis, it’s time to move on.
4. Insistence on Brand Name Medication
The medications your doctor prescribes are another thing to consider carefully. Often, different brand names may be used for what is essentially the same medication. As with other products, this medication generally remains consistent in its effectiveness, regardless of the brand, and as such, sometimes the only difference between the two medications is the cost. Given that the overwhelming majority of doctors have some business relationship with those who produce pharmaceutical products, sometimes they may be insisting on certain medications pertaining to that relationship, rather than what is best for the patient regarding cost or other factors.
3. Pain Pills AplentyRelated: 14 Places Germs Can Lurk in the Hospital
Much like antibiotics, painkillers are a staple of medicine, useful for a wide variety of conditions. However, they are not the answer to every situation. Overuse can be problematic for many reasons. Addiction is a common problem, for one, and constant use of pain pills can cause damage to the kidneys and the liver. Furthermore, muffling pain with painkillers does nothing for the actual problem causing the pain, which means you’re treating the symptoms, not the disease. If the doctor’s only answer is painkillers, you will be much better off seeking treatment elsewhere.
2. Dirty Hands
This one should be a no-brainer. Hand washing and hygiene, in general, is taught at a very young age to avoid the spread of infection, and if there is any place that should be clean and sanitary, it is a hospital or doctor’s office. If your doctor cannot be bothered to wash their hands before working with you, they are putting you at serious risk of infection. Coming from a doctor, this is also incredibly unprofessional and may be a sign of other potentially life-threatening shortcuts. All in all, if you catch your doctor frequently skipping gloves, sanitizer, and good ol’ soap and water, you should seek treatment elsewhere.
1. No Board CertificationRelated: 9 Secrets Your Nurses Know, But Probably Won’t Tell You
There’s an old joke that goes something like, “What do you call a student who got Cs in medical school? A doctor!” An earlier point mentioned that too many specializations, or a jack of all trades, was a poor choice. General practitioners are not necessarily worse doctors, however. That being said, ideally, you’ll want a doctor who has a specialization or two, with the certifications to prove it—just not too many. A board certification can give you the confidence that your doctor is truly proficient in a given area. If you have a specific type of illness, having a doctor specialized in its treatment would be quite a blessing.