Communicating with Your Doctor
Medical malpractice cases are on the rise in this country, and medical errors, mistakes, and missed diagnosis often result in serious, and even life-threatening harm to patients. Communicating with your doctor is essential to getting the care you need, and is the best way to ensure you are protected against problems that could result in a medical malpractice claim. Doctors’ offices are busy places, the staff is often rushed, and you will likely have limited time to meet with and actually discuss the details of your particular case. Good communication is the key, and there are steps you can take both prior to and during your doctor’s appointment to better communicate your wishes and needs, ensuring you get the best treatment possible from your provider.
Preparing for Your Appointment
According to the Center for Advancing Health (CFAH), being prepared for your doctor’s appointment begins when you make the first call. Check with the doctor’s staff to ensure they take your type of insurance, rather than risk being billed for out-of-network costs, as well as visiting a doctor you will not likely see again in the future. Once financial concerns are out of the way, the CFAH recommends the following steps to prepare for your doctor appointment:
- Be specific about why you are coming in when making your appointment to ensure the appropriate amount of time is scheduled
- Be prepared to provide thorough information about any diseases or health conditions that run in your family
- Bring your medical records or have them faxed to your doctor
- Make a list of all medications or herbal supplements you take, any specialist you see, or any past issues of procedures you have had
- Consider asking a friend to go with you to your appointment. They can help in case you forget what was said, or fail to mention something that is important at the visit
During Your Appointment
It is common to leave the doctor’s office after an appointment feeling no better than when you came in. In order to get the most out of a doctor appointment and ensure you get the care you need, the Family Caregiver Alliance recommends these tips for communicating with your doctor:
- Make a list of your symptoms and concerns prior to your appointment to avoid forgetting anything that could be important
- When your doctor asks how you are, do not say ‘fine’. Tell them your key concerns at the beginning of your appointment
- Listen attentively to everything the doctor says, and ask questions about anything you do not understand
- Speak plainly about your symptoms and what you are experiencing, and do not downplay or minimize what has been going on with you both physically and mentally
If, despite your best efforts, you feel your needs were not addressed, do not be afraid to get another opinion, or even to switch doctors if you feel like effective communication is not possible with your current doctor.
Contact Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys Today for Help
If you or someone you care about has suffered an injury or illness as the result of a medical error, mistake, or missed diagnosis, contact our experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorney right away. At Anastopoulo Law Firm we help victims of medical malpractice get the compensation they need to recover from their injuries. With offices in Charleston and throughout South Carolina, we will fight for your rights, and hold responsible parties accountable. Call us today for a free consultation.