How to Break Up With Your Doctor
In a perfect world, all doctors would be kind, caring souls who nurse the sick and keep the healthy running strong. Truth is, just as there are some bad mechanics, bad carpenters, and bad teachers, there are some bad doctors. So, when is it OK to sever ties with yours? "If you have a doctor who spends most of his time being judgmental and telling you how bad you are," says Andrew Drexler, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Gonda Diabetes Center at the University of California–Los Angeles, it's time for a change. Another red flag: "If the physician isn't individualizing your care and is putting you in a box."
If you feel your privacy has been jeopardized, you should collect your medical records and find a new doctor, says Marie Savard, MD, an internist, women's health expert, and author of How to Save Your Own Life. Another reason to walk away: if your doctor isn't following the proper guidelines of care. (Say, for instance, she minimizes the seriousness of a foot ulcer instead of referring you to a podiatrist or treating it right away.) When your doctor makes you feel stupid or otherwise uncomfortable, doesn't seem to understand your situation, or can't grasp cultural differences, and if you don't feel comfortable discussing health issues with him or her, it's OK to find someone else. "Complications are not inevitable. They're very dependent on the quality of care," says Drexler. "Finding good care is important—even if it means seeing several physicians before you find the right one, or paying more."