Thursday, June 3, 2010

What Makes a Good Doctor?

I often wonder what qualities I like to see in a doctor. I am writing this blog because of my recent experience with my new rheumatologist and another one that I am going through right now. On Friday I called my eye doctor because I am really tired of how much my eyesight is diminishing because of the cataracts I have. They need to come out, but since that will change my eyeglass prescription I don't want to spend all the money to get them just to have to spend all this money to get it changed again. The doctor never called me back and I had to call again on Wednesday. Now I understand this was by no means an emergency and it was a holiday weekend, but I do not think that is acceptable. I am having a real problem with my eyes that leaves me completely frustrated most of the time because I can't see nearly as well as I should and the strain is giving me constant headaches.

I also mentioned my problems with my new rheumatologist. She prescribed Plaquenil, but my insurance wants a prior authorization. It has been over a week and the authorization has still not gone through. While I am not thrilled to try Plaquenil again because of the effects it had previously on my stomach, I do think waiting over a week is a bit ridiculous.

I guess my ideal doctor would be caring, a good listener, and available. My rheumatologist at school fits the bill, but she is the only one (out of many, many doctors I have had) who really does. In thinking about going into health care, I read many different articles and blogs written by and about health care professionals. I understand that they are often overworked and have a very demanding schedules, but what about our needs as patients? I often feel like a burden to my doctors and I have delayed or just plain not sought medical attention when I thought I needed it because of this.

This problem is bigger than just certain doctors. It is part of the problems facing our heath care system in general. However, there are certain things that I expect from my doctors and fins unacceptable and other things that I can give some leeway with.

Anyone else have any thoughts?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been having similar issues with my rheumy lately. He (or his medical assistant, rather) doesn't call me back very quickly on some occasions and I've often waited days before making the decision to try calling again. Like you, I think that's pretty unacceptable. My old rheumatologist was GREAT at calling back (and did it himself too), but he was less proactive in treatments...which was why I switched doctors. I guess there was a price associated with switching...

I think it is really tough because specialists ARE very busy. But I have to believe that they can also take the time to make us feel like human beings and as if they care. My old neurologist was amazing and I feel like he showed me this standard that doctors CAN step up to. I have yet to find another doctor as great as him, although I've had a few come close. Mostly, the ones that come close are the ones that treat me like I'm not a burden to them or I'm not taking up too much of their time when I need more than 10 minutes at an appointment.

I can definitely understand your frustrations. My rheumy kept putting off my current flare, thinking it wasn't as bad as I kept telling him...and now I've been in a flare for 6 months and have all these extra problems popping up. SO FRUSTRATING!