As social human beings we are taught to
avoid change and confrontation, so we usually don't
exercise our right to confront people until we're
angry enough to do so in an unproductive manner.
In Crucial Confrontations: Tools for Resolving Broken
Promises, Violated Expectations, and Bad Behavior by
Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al
Switzler, confrontations are defined as "face-to-face
accountability discussions." They go on to say that the
majority of people fear the repercussions of holding
As you go through your medical treatments,
you should hold your specialists and medical team
accountable for 1) giving you treatments that have
proven effective in your type and stage of disease
(unless you decide to participate in a clinical trial); 2)
prompt follow-up to be sure that your treatments are
working; and 3) changing effectively and quickly if the
treatment direction is not having the anticipated result.
With some diseases -- such as heart disease and cancer
-- you can't afford lost time.
As the patient, you are the customer. However,
once you embark on your treatment, it becomes more
difficult--but not impossible--to change doctors.
Change at that point needs to be made with careful
consideration of all of the facts. Try to make the
relationship work. A change at the wrong juncture could
be catastrophic. Choose wisely. And there's always a
third opinion from another specialist.
Here are some reasons that patients might
decide to change from one physician to another:
Lack of confidence in their ability to perform
as a diagnostician and ability to be a problem-solver.
If you routinely leave your doctor's office feeling unsure
and uneasy about recommendations and/or decisions,
then your gut is telling you that a change may be
Is your doctor up-to-date on the latest or
greatest treatments for your medical condition?
treatment options and protocols are constantly being
developed on a regular basis.
Lack of connection between office visits
physician should be able to connect the dots between
your last visit, all that has gone on with treatments
and medical tests since your last visit, and what your
treatment next steps should be. He or she should be the
"man with the plan."
Having to repeat what you need before
getting anything accomplished.
If the doctor is truly
listening and up-to-date on your case, you should be
able to voice your concerns and have them addressed
as soon as possible.
Questions are often misunderstood or
One of the best ways to learn about your
illness and treatment options is to ask questions. Expect
answers; keep asking until you are confident that you
Unwilling to give copies of and explain test
You and your insurance company pay big
money for medical tests. They belong to you.
oes not work with the patient and caregiver
as part of the team.
It is sometimes hard to differentiate
between confidence through experience, and lack of
respect for the patient and their family. Don't sweat the
small stuff, but if it's not small stuff, stand your ground.
Not all doctors have expertise in "bedside manners", but
wouldn't you rather have a doctor who can keep you out
Unable to arrange an appointment when
there is a problem or concern.
There are times when
you can wait, and times when you cannot wait.
Written by Joni Aldrich, Pulitzer prize nominated author,
speaker, radio program host and producer, cancer,
caregiving, and patient safety advocate. Contributions by
Graham Whiteside, Vice President of Sales and Marketing
SIMnext LLC, and Chris Jerry, founder and CEO of The Emily
international patient safety advocate.