Monday, October 25, 2010

Medical Questions

Almost every day I hear or see someone complaining about their experiences at the doctor’s office (usually on blogs or facebook). People seem to often be very angry about their experiences and cannot understand why things happened the way they did. Seeing the other side of the picture, I often feel bad there is so much anger when I think if people understood some of the reasons things go how they did, maybe they wouldn’t be so upset.
Here are some common scenarios and my explanation.
The doctor was 45 minutes late!
This has got to be one of the most frustrating issues! No one likes to be treated in that way.  As a physician/dentist/or other professional, scheduling can be very difficult. Many times other patient’s show up late, demanding to be seen. As you can imagine, this bumps everyone back. Also, there are almost always patient’s trying to get into the schedule on an emergency basis. Other times the doctor may spend a little extra time explaining something or doing a same-day procedure to help a patient. This unfortunately affects you.
One of the biggest issues is that people tend to forget that many physicians while seeing clinic patients also have hospital patients or surgical patients who have emergencies or need to be seen as well. This can be challenging, and sadly, it is often you who has to wait.
We do our best and hope that you’ll be understanding as it may be you we spend the extra time on next time.
My doctor must not know anything-- Why would they ask me what medication or treatment I want?
We are striving to change medicine from doctor driven to patient driven care. You, as the patient, know your body more than anyone else and what works for you. We appreciate your input on these decisions.
People also make this argument about physicians who say different things or have different treatment plans. This doesn’t mean they are automatically a bad doctor See the next question…
A very common one: I went to a new dentist and he said I had XXX more cavities than last time I went. Is he a money grubber?
There are many different treatment philosophies in medicine and dentistry and often multiple approaches to the same problem. There are also different approaches to how and when to treat issues such as cavities. For example, your old dentist may be very conservative and does not like to do anything until a problem is very obvious (and bigger). Others may wish to act more preventively to take care of a small problem before it gets out of hand, “nip it in the bud.” If you go to two opposite dentists after each other, it will seem like very different diagnoses.
This applies in medicine as well. If you have a question, it never hurts to get a second opinion.
All doctors are the same. How can they possibly get away with charging XYZ for this procedure?
Medical training is very costly as well as time consuming. Schooling can take anywhere from 8-12+ years after high school to become a fully trained medical professional and if you are like me, will graduate with about $200K or more in debt. By the time you actually start making a comparable salary to your friends who have been working for 10 or more years, you have a lot more to pay off. Also, it is very expensive to run a medical practice. Medical-grade materials are very expensive and are often the bulk of the cost of your procedure and there are a lot of personnel to be paid.
I hate doctors! or I HATE Dentists!
We are people too! That means we have feelings. And it also means we aren’t perfect. If you try to speak to your doctor about your concerns I think you will usually see they weren’t so awful after all.
I would be happy to answer any more questions you may have or am curious to hear your rantings.
--Dr. Sheffield, DDS
Oh and PS, there are a lot of rantings and questions/myths about dental treatment, especially root canals. That is a topic for another day if you are interested. For now, root canals and tooth extractions aren’t as bad as they are made out to be. Usually.


nathan n rachel said...

Whenever I have to wait for the doctor I think that something must have come up (i.e., an emergency, a procedure taking longer than expected, some other patient came in late and threw off the schedule, etc.).

I always try and give you guys the benefit of the doubt because I've seen how our schedule can get totally off due to one small (or big) thing.

brenna said...

It's interesting to hear the other side of things.