physicians is never an easy step. Many of us have gone through the
process-however painful- to find a doctor who works with us as a
partner in managing our pain and illness.
The challenge of finding a new doctor and forming a relationship,
however, is unappealing. "I've heard great recommendations
for physicians," says Sharon who lives with lupus. "But
these doctors are booked months in advance." Personally, I've
desperately wanted a second opinion a few times and have paid full-price
for it. Remember, you care and understand more about your health-or
lack of it- than anyone else, so you must be an advocate for your
As an illness progresses, what you need from your physician may
change, and yet your physician may not. A new doctor can make all
of the difference in your care. Your goal should be to live, not
just survive. That needs to be your doctor's goal too.
A 2002 study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine
found that most patients wanted to change doctors because of poor
communication with the doctor. Patients who felt left out of decisions
trusted their doctors less, but it took a lack of ordering tests,
or giving referrals for patients to shop around. Before giving up
on any doctor, explain the level of involvement you would prefer
and with him and ask if this can be met.
When looking for a new doctor, don't criticize your previous doctor.
When I've had to explain my reasons I've said, "She very nice
and I like her a lot, but she's more passive in her treatment and
I'd like to explore some other options." Explain what you are
looking for, and ask if this is possible.
is a partial article. The remainder of it can be found in our
Sept/October 2004 issue.
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