FULL DISCLOSURE BY THE
PATIENT OF ALL DATA PERTINENT TO THE PRESENTING
Only with full information can the physician
request certain tests, make a diagnosis, and
recommend treatment in an intelligent and informed
HAVE ADEQUATE TIME FOR A
FULL PATIENT EVALUATION AND NECESSARY TESTS BEFORE
MAKING A DIAGNOSIS OR STARTING THERAPY.
When you call for an appointment, the doctor may
be booked up for days in advance. You will be
scheduled for a time that will allow a full
evaluation to be done. It is unfair to yourself and
to other scheduled patients to demand to be seen
sooner. If you have severe pain or serious symptoms,
let the doctor's office know and you will be seen as
an emergency. Tests or follow-up visits may be
scheduled up to a few weeks in advance. Before the
test results are in, the doctor may not have enough
information to make a diagnosis or start therapy; it
takes time to receive test results.
PROMPT NOTIFICATION OF
WORSENING OR CHANGE IN SYMPTOMS, REACTIONS TO
MEDICATIONS, OR OTHER HEALTH-RELATED ITEMS.
It is often impossible for the doctor to
predict in advance any adverse side-effects or
directions your illness make take. To ensure
appropriate therapy and treatment, you must maintain
a good line of communication with your doctor.
ACT PROFESSIONALLY IN THE
BEST INTEREST OF THE PATIENT.
Sometimes, what the patient wants and what
the doctor thinks is in the patient's best interest
are different. Don't expect the doctor to do
something that he feels is morally wrong,
professionally compromising, or illegal, or which he
feels may harm you. If such a conflict arises, it is
usually best for the doctor to withdraw from your
care or for you to find another doctor who's ideas
are more in line with your own.
WITHDRAW FROM THE CARE OF A
PATIENT WITH WHOM A PERSONALITY CONFLICT OR
EMOTIONAL INVOLVEMENT EXISTS OR WHO REFUSES TO
FOLLOW HIS RECOMMENDATIONS.
Doctors can experience feelings or anger
or unresolvable personality conflicts with patients.
Or the doctor may feel he is becoming too
emotionally involved in a case or is unable to
deliver care objectively. Noncompliance by a patient
may also cause feelings of frustration and anger
which may make it impossible for the doctor to
deliver good care. The physician has the same rights
as the patient to end an unsatisfactory relationship
which no longer serves either party. If, however,
the physician decides to sever a relationship, he
should offer to arrange for continuing care by
another physician for urgent problems, at least
temporarily, and make available the medical records.
EFFICIENT USE OF TIME.
Doctors schedule patients closely and often are
heavily booked. Just as you would expect someone
visiting you for a specific reason to come prepared,
you should organize your thoughts, think about the
specifics of your symptoms, and carefully write down
your questions about your problem. Not only does
this make time spent with the doctor more efficient,
your thoughts and questions are also organized, and
you are more likely to gain a better understanding
of your illness. You will remember more of what your
doctor tells you and will make fewer phone calls
between visits for clarification.
RECEIVE PROMPT PAYMENT FOR
Nothing can destroy a relationship as quickly as
hassles over money. You should obtain information in
advance about the projected fees; once you know the
charges and have decided to use the services of the
doctor, you have the same obligation as you would at
the grocery story to pay promptly. The physician, in
turn, has bills to pay. Often physicians will adjust
fees according to the person's ability to pay and
will also assist in filing (or actually submit)
insurance claims for you.
BE FREE FROM PATIENT RESPONSIBILITY
WHEN NOT IN THE OFFICE OR ON CALL.
The doctor has a personal life. When he is
not in the office or on call, he is off duty and you
should respect that. It is unfair to expect the
doctor to be available for you at night, on
weekends, and at other private times. To calm your
fears about his covering physicians when he is not
available, ask to meet and talk with them. Your
medical records should be available to the covering
physicians if you have an emergent problem.