Signs It May Be Time To Break Up With Your Doctor

Doctors can fail us. According to the health journal Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, recent studies estimate that medical errors could account for up to 251,000 deaths every year. And even though less than 10 percent of medical errors are actually reported, they’re the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

If you’re Black, systematic racism and implicit bias in medicine may be another factor that affects your treatment. I learnt this the hard way when I received substandard treatment after a car accident.

So, how can you tell that you’re receiving poor quality care in the midst of a medical issue? As part of National Wellness Month, to help answer this, I’ve compiled some signs that it may be time to part ways with your doctor.

They Can’t Keep Your Case Straight

They can’t seem to keep track of basic details like what treatments you’ve received, the medications you’re on, or your list of allergies. Staying on top of your status in general is a challenge for them. It’s possible this has resulted in some mistakes, which has left you feeling unsafe in their care.

Lack of attention to detail is a red flag, especially since it can result in patient harm.

You Aren’t Making Any Progress

You don’t seem to be getting any better under their care. Maybe their treatments haven’t improved your situation or provided much relief. Or maybe they aren’t interested in investigating further and exploring the possibilities once they’ve provided basic care?

Either way, if your doctor isn’t actually helping you it may be time to ask for a specialist  referral or move on to the next.

Your Health Is Deteriorating

If your case has gotten worse and still seems to be deteriorating, or their recommendations have directly resulted in your deterioration, it may be time to step back. Revisit what the expected outcomes were supposed to be and have a candid conversation with them about this.

Other red flags include ignoring your discomfort or downplаying it, which is medical gaslighting.

They’re Rude or Condescending

Do they dismiss your concerns without offering room for discussion and become irritated when you ask them questions? Or do they talk down to you sometimes? Creating an environment where you aren’t free to express yourself, especially when advocating for yourself, is problematic. This is especially the case because you may find that you stop speaking up because they don’t even listen to you. It’s best to cut ties before reaching this point.

You Don’t Feel Cared For

Feeling like your doctor genuinely cares for your well-being because they listen to you, treat you with kindness and are invested in creating a safe space for you to heal is key. It’s more than a comfort when you’re in a vulnerable state because trusting that you’re truly in safe hands helps you stay calm and centered.

If they have a poor bedside manner, do things like carelessly mispronounce your name and are just generally unwelcoming, it may be time to break up with them.

You Aren’t Sure How You Feel

If you still aren’t sure whether you need to fire your doctor, you can always enlist the help of a patient advocate to support you. Advocating for yourself can be a challenge when you’re already dealing with illness, so enlisting the help of a professional who knows how to navigate our complex healthcare system could ease that burden.

And even if you have a loved one take on this role instead, having someone there who has your back will be a comfort.

Know That You Deserve Quality Care

Regardless of your experience on your health journey, know that you deserve to be seen, heard and treated with the utmost respect. You can cut ties at any time for any reason, or you can work with your medical practitioners to help them improve their standard of care. The decision is totally up to you. And if you put yourself first, you can’t go wrong.

Nantale Muwonge is a marketing strategist and the founder of Black Girl PR™. After a car accident changed her outlook on life, she quit corporate America to pursue a more sustainable and healthy way to be and sharing what she’s learned on the journey is a part of that.

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