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When a patient feels it's time to find a new doctor

WebMD offers an interesting feature on the doctor/patient relationship.  Brenda Della Casa had been seeing her primary care physician for two years and had brushed off her concerns about getting rushed care – until she had a health scare she couldn’t ignore. She told her doctor she was experiencing terrible back pain and stomachaches. Her doctor checked her, said she was fine, and sent her on her way.

Five days later, Della Casa, was traveling and had pains so severe she could barely move. When she received a voicemail from her doctor saying she had “misread her results” and needed to be treated immediately for a kidney infection, she was furious. “I decided then and there I would never see her again,” Della Casa said.

One expert likens the doctor/patient relationship to a business partnership. The physician brings medical expertise and the patients bring the expertise of knowing their body and preferences for treatment and care.  “The core assumption is that both parties are trying really hard to help the person get better,” says George Blackall, professor of pediatrics and humanities at Penn State University College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa. “There are times in a doctor-patient relationship where there are going to be outright disagreements. It’s actually quite common.”

Signs that it’s time to move on: You can’t get an appointment when you need to see your doctor; You can’t trust or be honest with your doctor; Your doctor ignores your questions or dismisses your complaints; Your doctor fails to explain your condition, treatment, or options for care.

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