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Summary of the visit to the doctor’s office

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Over the last 6 weeks I have been speaking of what to expect at the doctors’ office. Here’s a summary.

Going to a doctors office can be a very daunting process for some people, especially men, and children. For men, it’s an issue of not being accustomed and not wanting to know “what’s wrong” because they feel so right, and for children it’s about a possible “injection”.{{more}}

However, most people, at some time, will have to see a doctor and you should know what to expect from your doctor. Once it’s your first visit to the doctor, certain basic things must be done, as the first visit is like a major service for a car.

The doctor has to spend time talking with you, enquiring about the reason for your visit and then getting additional information about general and specific health issues. Then, he or she is supposed to examine you, using the eyes (looking at the area in question and the patient generally), ears and hands and, if possible, others senses (some patients also want you to smell things!)

After the examination, the doctor should usually be able to tell you what’s wrong. Every so often he or she will send you for extra tests to give them more information, so an accurate diagnosis can be made. More often than not, many doctors are prompted to do some unnecessary tests by patients and their relatives, who do not believe the doctor and think that the doctor does not know what he or she is doing. Usually these tests do not give any useful information. Rarely they do. You should not go to a doctor that you do not trust!

After the diagnosis, your doctor will spend some time explaining the diagnosis and the treatment. You actually pay for this and should demand or expect this level of service. In other words, expect your doctor to spend time talking to you, examining you and explaining your diagnosis and treatment to you. As a general rule of thumb, if you are seeing a doctor for the same problem and you are following instructions and not improving, then you should ask for a referral for a second opinion after the third visit. That’s usually enough time for the results to be back and for the medication to start working. Lack of improvement may mean wrong diagnosis, wrong treatment dose, regime or duration or a non-compliant patient. Asking for a second opinion alerts the doctor to a dissatisfied patient. Most contentious doctors will revise their notes, reexamine their patients, and review their results and diagnosis before referring their patients. This usually leads to improved quality of care for patients and, in some cases, the doctor realizes that he does not need to refer the patient.

This only happens if the patient asks for a referral. Unfortunately, patients do not usually ask for second opinion referral, for fear of upsetting their doctors, as they think it would jeopardize their future treatment (usually women). Some patients (usually men) are too impatient and will jump from doctor to doctor, seeking different opinions of the same problem. They usually end up no different from when they started as a “rolling stone gathers no moss”.

If you decide that you need to see another doctor for a second opinion, whether you are referred or not, then you need to take with you all the medications you are presently taking or you have recently taken. Knowing the medication’s name is sometimes not enough, as the doctor wants to know the dose and confirm your compliance with taking the medication. Please take someone with you, especially when going for the second opinion visit. Two heads are better than one! Men in particular like to ask “why do I need to bring someone with me? I’m not stupid.” They are also the ones who do not follow instructions and are usually non-compliant and default from follow-up. This is because they forget. They understand the diagnosis and treatment when it is explained in the office, but they forget the details by the time they reach home.

For comments or question contact:

Dr Rohan Deshong

Tel: (784) 456-2785

email: deshong@vincysurf.com

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