When you consult a medical professional, you trust your health and life to this person. In most cases, this trust is fully warranted. However, doctors can make mistakes too. Unlike other jobs, these mistakes can have devastating consequences for a patient.
While no doctor can guarantee positive outcomes in every case, physicians must meet certain standards of care; failing to do so can mean legal responsibility for a negative outcome. Most people would rather avoid getting to this point. There may be certain warning signs in your interactions with your doctor that indicate it could be a good idea to consult another physician.
Heading straight to drastic solutions
While surgery is sometimes the only or the best solution, it is a serious option that can have a long and difficult recovery period. It is not an option most doctors would recommend lightly. If you feel your doctor recommends surgery as the first option for handling a non-emergency situation, you are entitled to a complete and accurate explanation. If your doctor seems reluctant to explain, brushes you off, or seems too pushy about it, you should get another physician to weigh in. Even if the other doctor does confirm that surgery is necessary, you will have confidence knowing that you are making the right decision.
Failing to listen
If you feel the doctor is extremely brief when interacting with you and does not listen to your concerns, it is time to reconsider this patient-doctor relationship. Many doctors have legitimate reasons to be in a hurry, as they are typically busy and under much stress. However, failing to take in your concerns and answer your questions means the doctor may make decisions about your treatment without the whole picture. Doctors who do not listen to their patients are more likely to make mistakes. Failing to answer questions or provide complete explanations of treatment regimens can also cause patients to misunderstand instructions, with potentially serious effects.
When something just doesn't feel right
If something feels off to you about your diagnosis or treatment plan, do not just disregard your feelings. While you are not a medical professional, you know yourself. Another doctor can confirm your suspicions or reassure you that you are getting the right care. If you have suffered because of a mistake in treatment, the consequences can be extremely far-reaching and continue to affect your health in various ways. If you believe you have experienced substandard care, speak with a knowledgeable attorney to discuss your legal options.