• What are some tips as to how to be assertive with doctors when they are not giving you the answers you need?

    Asked by HardyGirl on Thursday, April 4, 2013

    What are some tips as to how to be assertive with doctors when they are not giving you the answers you need?

    I have one that just comes into the exam room, looks at the chart, then asks me why I'm there like he's never seen be before, and gone before I can ask my questions.

    18 Answers from the Community

    18 answers
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Yikes, this seems to be insensitive doctor week here at WhatNext. As soon as he walks into the room, tell him that you've been in his care for ____ . That you have some questions you would like answered and his hit and run modus operandi is offensive to you. How he responds will guide your next steps. If he stays, and answers your questions, and you can talk to him about a collaborative relationship, give him a few more visits.

      If he is brusk, leaves, offend, etc then it's time to find a doctor you feel comfortable working with. When you do switch to that doctor and let your current oncologist and when you leave, let the oncology know exactly why you decided to do so.

      over 3 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      I would insist that he answer your questions. I'd go right up to him and let him know you need some answers. Another way of looking at your relationship is the Dr in your employee and you're the boss. You pay him, he doesn't pay you. When your employee is not performing up to the expectations you have for his position, you fire that employee and find someone a little more qualified.

      over 3 years ago
    • Molly72's Avatar

      I would ask him why he is there, get dressed & find a good doctor!
      You do not need an insensitive & incompetent dude like him.
      Be brave, docs are no better than you, just more egotistical!

      over 3 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar

      Ditto everyone here. You must have a Dr. you are comfortable with. Do not settle for any less.
      I have my Dr.'s email and send my questions before every visit including the research I want to discuss with him and its implications on my case. I am always scheduled for the last appointment as its usually 2 hours or more.

      over 3 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      One trick I have learned is to make the last appointment for the day so that the Dr can't use the excuse that someone else is waiting. When he says "why are you here?" pull out your list of qestions and say directly "To get answers to my questions" and then just start asking. You to can be assertive in the situation. You have a right to get answers to al of your questions in terms that you can understand. If necessary bring a friend ansd have them block the door so that the Dr can't get out until your questions are answered to your satisfaction. Good Lucka nd let us know if you need any more help, maybe we can halp you with plans for a Dr snare.

      over 3 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      As an oncology nurse I can tell you that doctors, like nurses, love to educate. It is the thing that excites us and so when you see the doctor, sometimes it is a great idea to let him know that you are making a journal to document your journey and you have questions to ask of him so that you can update that journey. If that does not work then I would suggest that you let his nurse know your list of questions and that if you get no satisfaction from either, inform the nurse that you will be looking for a doctor who is willing to accept that you wish to be a part of the team and have a say in your care but you are being asked to make uninformed decisions which does go against the patient bill of rights. Sometimes it is also a good idea to ask this doctor if he registered on Healthgrades.com because you would like to post a patient review. I am sure he will pay attention to that. Good luck, Carm.

      over 3 years ago
    • ddkk3's Avatar

      I would probably try to find a new doctor. You have to be able to be comfortable with your doctor and that would not work well with me at all.

      over 3 years ago
    • fuzzylinux's Avatar

      I am really fortunate as my dealings with the Tom baker Cancer Centre in Calgary has been an outstanding experience. My assigned oncologist is extremely busy but will sit as long as needed. The trick I have found is to make a list, write it down, bring it with you (chemo brain makes this tough some days :-) ). I only see him once every 3 months as I get my treatments in the small town High River cancer Clinic south of Calgary. There is a Doctor there that will spend a great deal of time with us. Although not an oncologist the centres electronically keep in close contact and while I am having treatments they can communicate any concerns. There are three dedicated oncology nurses that spend all of their time with us and if they don't know the answers they find them right away. Again, write your questions down and show it to them right away and tell them you need some answers. I find that by showing you have done some research and preparation they seem to take me more and sometimes very seriously.

      Mike D.

      over 3 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      I had a similar situation when this all started for me. I was convinced the onc I had didn't give a XXX. I expressed this to the surgeon who did the node removal (who was a very open and warm individual) who told me to just say up front that I wanted answers. First thing, before the onc could say anything. Put your doc on the spot so to speak. He may just need the prod.

      This is sort of like dating in a way and you have to up front about some of your expectations for it to work.

      over 3 years ago
    • Happyjack's Avatar

      I, too, take a list of questions to all of my doctor appointments. I have been fortunate in that they have all been very responsive to all my queries. I did have a cardiologist who I saw just before my surgery for cancer and he told me that I might die on the operating table. I looked him straight in the eye and told him I had more important things on my mind! I won't be going back to him! Maybe he missed the class in "sensitivity"!

      over 3 years ago
    • nancibee's Avatar

      Get a new doctor if it is possible and you don't think his technical competence is enough to offset this insensitive attitude.. One of mine hugs me when she comes in.All listen and answer all questions without looking at their watches. I can message them through Kaiser's email system. Stress is not conducive to healing or staying healed.

      over 3 years ago
    • Judit's Avatar

      I can't imagine a physician who is so insensitive. I'd yell "WAIT" as he tries to leave & insist that he take the time to listen to me!

      over 3 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar

      OMG Dr. Doom has a twin. Last week I posted a similar question. Thanks to the advice of all these wonderful I am now seeking another Dr. In the meantime, I took my son to the Wednsday's appointment. My son is a lawyer so he is pretty good at getting answers. My suggestion would be to take a very assertive friend or family member with you

      over 3 years ago
    • Molly72's Avatar

      Isn't it terribly sad that there are so many examples of insensitive doctors stories given here?
      Especially to those who need compassionate as well as competent care.
      We have/had cancer, we didn't just have a case of acne or a bad cold, we had a life-threatening disease.
      I certainly hope that this board is read by doctors or oncologists or some medical care workers, but I bet the very ones who should read it would never think of doing so.
      Most in the medical field are good guys, & I bet they cringe at the lack of compassion shown by these oafs.
      But we as patients need to stand up for ourselves, and never let the bad apples step all over us.
      As another person said here, doctors are OUR employees!

      over 3 years ago
    • Svaha's Avatar

      I tell them that while they know what's going to happen next, I'm NEW at this and I need explanations and guidance so I understand.

      over 3 years ago
    • sandikf's Avatar

      My doctors were fairly good while I was in treatment but it seemed once I was declared cancer free they have kicked me to the curb. I see them every 3 months and they are freindly enough do answer some questions but most questions they blow off- like a nagging cough etc. ( I think that in part is because she doesn't know the answers) And if it doesn't concern cancer I was told go to primary. If she was as bad as the one in the question I would have got a new one.

      over 3 years ago
    • FaunaRenee's Avatar

      I have been lucky with my Doctors, I find that if you let them know you are in control of your treatment but respect their input they are more than willing to help at every level

      over 3 years ago
    • MariaM's Avatar

      My regular job involves manipulating very busy doctors to do various things required of them, including paperwork. I always say that three words that ought to be in my job description are "nags, cajoles, and bullies." That said, my coworkers and I would tell you that in the medical world, you can get very far by adopting an attitude that is polite and deferential, but very firm about your own expectations. Just keep asking questions, politely.

      about 3 years ago

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