Chronic Snarkopolist: Finding a New Doctor – Teamwork
Hello my loves!
I have discussed before picking a new doctor. But it has come up again. This time I needed to fit a specialist into a team of established and trusted specialists and they all needed to collaborate and work well together.
After years of seeing my old doctor, one I love and trust, I moved. Replacing him frightened me but I was willing to find a new specialist after my last hospital stay. This specialist needed to listen and deal well with the medications I am on. And mostly be willing to be a team with my other doctors and me because this is how I feel I have done so well. Though I am flexible about my doctors because medicine is both an art and science; I hold them to a high standard when it comes to my health care. And we are a team.
Fitting someone new in might take work, but I was keeping an open mind. There are many ways to fit into a team. Mostly, one needs a willingness to listen and work with the other specialists. On my first patient visit to a new specialist something did not sit right. This doctor did not put his hands on my body. Not once. Now for a first time visit to a specialist, that is something almost every doctor should do. He or she should be considering views, taking a good history, and understanding your body. Reading your chart and medications and taking big expensive tests is only secondary to the old school things like listening to your heart, looking into your eyes, taking reflexes, looking over you’re your skin or in other ways physically touching you. It is time, especially when they are working with patients who have multiple specialists, to be willing to work collaboratively and problem solve as a team. Now is not the time during a first patient assessment NOT to assess! I am willing to be responsible for my own health if I have a set of doctors who feel trustworthy and are working to create a system that feels right.
When my new specialist did not move from his little wheeled bench I wondered what was up. When he ordered a few blood tests without even taking a full history I mentioned that my other doctor had just taken one of these tests a week ago and I’m sure would send it over.
But something happened. I realized THIS was not the specialist for me. This doctor was not going to listen to me. He was not going to listen to the other doctors. And he was not going to be a careful doctor. We all need that. Me and the team of doctors who were all working together needed not to replicate tests and to be careful of my medications. And mostly- to trust each other. And I don’t trust a doctor who does not put forth any effort the very first time he or she meets me to get to know me.
I returned to my referring specialist and said, “I don’t trust this guy. Do you? I don’t CARE what he thinks if he’s too lazy to touch me or orders tests without even finding out what you’ve done.” And my referring doctor said, “Yah, me too.”
And it validated me and my thinking. Doctors go to school for a long time to learn how to use their brains and hone their skills. That means we as patients might have some responsibility to care for ourselves or report our symptoms or even take medications when we agree we will. But if we KNOW a doctor is going to be lazy or a bad fit, I LISTEN to my inner voice. I generally make sure I tell my other doctors what I think so they don’t send other patients to a bad or lazy doctor. And in a similar way, I tell my doctors when I really have a good experience or respect someone so they can refer their patients to a great doctor. Patients are not the only ones who need to know good doctors and build trust. Doctors also need to trust their patients and each other.
These are my thoughts. What do you think? What are our experiences? How do you go about finding a new specialist or build a new one into a team? How do you listen to yourself and other referrals when finding a new doctor? What is important to you in building trust and knowing a specialist will be someone you can trust? Please tell me! I must know!
I will see you in two weeks! Kiss kiss!