Your physician should be a professional in whom you feel confident placing your trust, your health, and your wellbeing. It is critical to find a doctor who is not only competent and knowledgeable but who also treats you with respect. In today’s world, medical advances have ensured we are able to see a variety of doctors specializing in an array of medical issues. Seeking a new doctor can be an intimidating task. However, it is worth the effort, and especially critical if you notice these warning signs from your current physician.
16. Dirty or Unhygienic Office
When visiting the doctor for your annual checkup or a flu shot, the last thing you need is to contract an illness from another patient. A clinic in which clutter is allowed to gather may be a clinic in which proper measures are not taken to prevent the spread of germs. Your doctor and clinic staff should be diligent about properly disposing of items such as probe covers, exam table papers, and needles. The waiting and exam rooms should be clean and disinfected.
15. No Clear Specialty
Gone are the days when an entire family would see the same physician from the moment of birth to their dying days. Today, you may see a family practitioner or an internist for routine exams and minor illnesses. However, many medical conditions are best treated by specialists in that field. These specialists are able to stay up to date on the newest recommendations in their particular field. If you realize your doctor is treating a variety of conditions from heart disease to cancer, you may want to consider searching for a doctor who specializes in your particular disorder.
14. Overprescribing Antibiotics
When we feel ill, it is only natural to desire a magical pill that will instantly cure our sickness and restore our health. Many individuals head to the doctor hoping for an antibiotic to treat the uncomfortable symptoms of a virus. Unfortunately, viruses do not respond to antibiotics. Furthermore, overuse of antibiotics results in bacteria that are resistant to these drugs. Your physician may be willing to prescribe antibiotics for any and all illnesses. If so, it is time to find a doctor who recognizes when it is appropriate to use an antibiotic and when it is not.
13. Overly Generous with Pain Meds
There are many times when pain medications are appropriate remedies for aches, pains, and discomfort. However, due to the addictive potential of many heavy-duty pain medications, it is critical to make sure you receive these drugs in appropriate doses for suitable time periods. Your doctor should be willing to prescribe pain medications, such as opioids, when they are needed. She should also require you to follow up with her to make sure you are using your medications safely and effectively.
12. Unwillingness to Admit Mistakes
We are all human, and doctors are no exception. Whether it’s misdiagnosing an ear infection, calling in the wrong prescription, or making an error in your chart, there may be times when your physician messes up. Of course, there are some errors, such as operating on the wrong body part, that seem unforgivable. In other cases, a mistake may lead to inconvenience or discomfort without severely threatening your health. Either way, if your doctor is unwilling to take responsibility for his mistake or blames you for his own error, it is time to find yourself a new physician.Related: 14 Pain Medications and the Risks They Pose
11. Being Untruthful
You have a right to expect your doctor to be open and honest with you regarding your health, your treatment, and your prognosis. Discovering your physician has been lying to you is grounds for finding yourself a new doctor. Of course, honesty goes both ways. It is also critical that you are honest with your doctor and provide him or her with accurate information regarding your health. If your doctor doesn’t have the full picture, it can be challenging to provide you with a correct diagnosis and treatment plan.
10. Overprescribing Tests
Scans, blood tests, and other diagnostic tests are useful tools for helping to pin down a diagnosis. However, if your doctor routinely orders large batches of tests for every conceivable condition, she may have an ulterior motive. Be wary of physicians who rush to order a myriad of expensive tests for any ailment.
9. Not Listening to You
Ideally, your relationship with your doctor should involve a good rapport as you both work together to keep you healthy. Your physician should ask a variety of questions that enable you to alert her to any potential medical problems you are facing. When speaking with your physician, you should feel that he is listening to your concerns, understanding your point of view, and answering your questions. If you discover that speaking with your physician means she is doing all the speaking and you are doing all the listening, you may need to find a new doctor.
8. Going Along with Your Whims
It is crucial to find a physician who listens and respects your opinions. However, if your doctor goes along with your self-diagnoses and the advice you find on the internet without question, you might want to look for a new physician. You need a physician who relies on medical training and expertise to treat your problems and illnesses. Stay away from a yes-man who doesn’t bring an expert opinion to the table.
7. Discouraging Second Opinions
An ethical physician will encourage you to get a second opinion when you are facing a complicated diagnosis or difficult treatment. If your doctor pressures you into undergoing treatment when you feel uncomfortable, it may be time to find a new doctor. In an emergency situation, time may not allow you to seek a second opinion. In other cases, your doctor should not feel threatened by your desire to seek confirmation of your diagnosis and recommended treatment plan.
6. Frequent Misdiagnoses
Doctors are human too, and your doctor may miss a diagnosis. However, if your doctor makes major errors in judgment, frequently makes incorrect diagnoses, or seems otherwise inept, it would be wise to seek a new doctor. Your insurance company may provide online tools for selecting a new doctor within your network. Seeking recommendations from family and friends may also help you to find a competent physician.
5. Pushing Specific Brand Name Drugs
There are a variety of brand name and generic medications on the market to treat diseases, illnesses, and disorders. If your doctor frequently steers you toward specific brand-name medications without taking into account your financial situation, she may be in cahoots with a pharmaceutical company. In some cases, a brand-name medication may be the very best choice. However, your doctor should take into consideration your medical condition, insurance coverage, and financial situation when prescribing medications.
4. Skipping Handwashing
Washing your hands is critical for preventing the spread of illness. If you notice your doctor skips the crucial step of washing his hands before and after your exam, it may be a good idea to find a new physician. According to the CDC, it is critical for healthcare personnel to wash their hands either with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of germs.
3. Lacking Board Certification
If you are seeing a specialist, look for that physician to be board certified in his or her field of expertise. Examples of specialists are dermatologists, pediatricians, allergists, obstetricians, and orthopedists. According to the American Board of Medical Specialties, board certified physicians undergo additional training and evaluation in their chosen field.
2. Inappropriate Touching
Oftentimes, your physician may have to conduct a physical exam that involves touch. Examples include feeling your lymph nodes for swelling, palpating your stomach, and checking for lumps. However, listen to your gut if you feel your doctor is touching you inappropriately. Furthermore, if you request that a female nurse is present when you are alone with a male doctor, your doctor must honor that request.
1. No Longer Covered Under Your Insurance Plan
Sadly, sometimes a beloved or respected physician will no longer be covered under your insurance plan. This may happen when your employer changes insurance carriers, when you switch jobs, or when your doctor leaves your plan. Unless you can afford to pay for your doctor out-of-pocket, financial considerations may mean this is the time to search for a new, in-network physician.Related: 10 Things Nurses Wish They Could Tell Their Patients