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"I hate my doctor!" - (8/7/2018)

By Dr. Ron Gasbarro 

Mrs. Taylor came into the pharmacy with a new prescription from her doctor. “I do not like this new doctor,” she complained. “Look at this prescription! Why, you can’t even read his writing. I cannot understand him when he speaks, which is not very often. I have to wait forever in the waiting room. I don’t think he likes me. I hate him!” The often-illegible handwriting of doctors is a universal joke. But it takes the rare pharmacist who cannot decipher the mysterious hieroglyphics scribbled across the prescriber’s pad. So, the unreadable scrawl cannot be Mrs. Taylor’s real complaint. 

People have their reasons for not liking their doctor. The doctor has a foreign accent, which may make it harder for some patients to understand. The doctor is the wrong gender for the patient, which makes her feel uncomfortable. The doctor is much younger than the patient is. He may look 16 through 65-year old eyes, but he is really 35 and qualified. However, the patient would be more relaxed with someone older. The doctor is so strict that the patient cannot manipulate her to get what the patient wants.

Or maybe it’s you. There are types of behavior from patients that doctors simply cannot tolerate, which means your hatred may be inspired by your own actions in your doctor’s office. For example, you may experience negative feelings from your physician if you invite along family members who interfere with the doctor’s advice. The doctor frowns on patients who do not accurately reveal their past medical history and current medications. This will interfere with his treatment of you. Clinicians are not pleased when a patient refuses to follow medical advice despite having a chronic illness. Or when the patient insists on a medication when simpler lifestyle changes will solve the problem. The patient who is not paying attention to what the doctor is saying because the patient is texting will greatly ignore the prescriber. Another red flag in the doctor-patient relationship is when the patient demands unrelated prescriptions. For example, you go in for what you claim is shortness of breath. “And, oh by the way, can I have a script for a narcotic, tranquilizer, or other controlled substance for which I promise will not be used for recreational purposes?” LOL – the doctor was not born yesterday!

Certainly, when we do not feel well, we often have the tendency to take our feelings out on those around us. Is your hatred for your doctor stemming not from his inadequacy or irritating conduct but rather from your pain and discomfort? Before you make any rash decisions regarding your health care, evaluate whether your disease or treatment is clouding your judgment. You may simply need to adjust your own attitude to endure the visit.
OK, you decide to part ways. Yet, you do need a healthcare provider. Before you cut ties with your old doctor, consider the probability that you may despise your new doctor even more. That is why you should do some homework first. Ask friends with the similar health issues where they get medical treatment. Websites exist that offer ratings and reviews of different physicians, such as healthgrades.com. Compile a list of candidates and then call and ask about the qualities and procedures that matter to you. For example, if you dislike prescription pushing, you should find a doctor who focuses on holistic health and natural healing. In time, you will find a physician you love, not one you love to hate. 

The pharmacist suggested several doctors in town that may be more to Mrs. Taylor’s liking. If she comes in and complains again, maybe it was not the doctor’s manner after all. 

Ron Gasbarro, PharmD, is a registered pharmacist, medical writer, and principal at Rx-Press.com. Read more at www.rx-press.com  


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