Why Patients Should Challenge a Doctor’s Diagnosis

I found an interesting article about patient wellness in the Wednesday, April 13, 2014 UK Metro newspaper while vacationing in England. The article was called, “Why patients don’t challenge a doctor’s diagnosis” and was based on research done by the medicalaccidentgroup.

I’m going to display the answers patients gave along with my response to each. Let me know if you agree with me in the comments below.

  • Why patients don’t challenge a doctor’s diagnosis: To avoid confrontation
    • My response: Your health is in your hands. Trust your instinct and don’t be afraid to stand up for your own well-being.
  • Why patients don’t challenge a doctor’s diagnosis: Don’t want to offend
    • My response: Instead of challenging a doctor’s diagnosis and possibly offending him/her, ask questions about it. Ask him how and why he came to his conclusion. Be diplomatic and express yourself in a way that is not antagonistic. Try to remain calm and remember that the doctor probably has your best interest in mind.
  • Why patients don’t challenge a doctor’s diagnosis: Hope to get better in time
    • My response: Be as knowledgeable as you can about your diagnosis and don’t rely on time to heal whatever’s going on. Take action to provide yourself with the necessary care to get healthy again.
  • Why patients don’t challenge a doctor’s diagnosis: Don’t want to overreact
    • My response: Talking to your doctor about your diagnosis is not overreacting. It’s turning yourself into your best advocate. You want to be able to speak up for yourself and know what’s going on in your care. No one else will take better care of yourself than you.
  • Why patients don’t challenge a doctor’s diagnosis: May not get another appointment
    • My response: Doctors make money on you returning to their office. You shouldn’t worry about getting another appointment just because you want to take care of yourself and know what’s going on in your health.
  • Why patients don’t challenge a doctor’s diagnosis: They may not take me seriously
    • My response: Some doctors can be arrogant, yes. But this doesn’t mean that you should allow anyone to make you fear standing up for yourself. Trust yourself and speak up.
  • Why patients don’t challenge a doctor’s diagnosis: Don’t want to hold them up
    • My response: Don’t worry about asking a doctor to spend more time with you. This is your LIFE you’re talking about. Your future relies on you getting well.
  • Why patients don’t challenge a doctor’s diagnosis: Too rushed
    •  My response: This is a tough one. If a doctor makes you feel rushed, that’s a good sign that you probably need a new doctor. Usually doctors want to help people get through their diagnosis as comfortably as possible. Most doctors will spend the extra time helping their patient understand what’s going on and try their best to not make them feel panicked.
  • Why patients don’t challenge a doctor’s diagnosis: A friend persuaded me not to
    •  My response: Having a support system is great. Just don’t listen to them if they make you go against your gut feelings. Trust your gut and say what you need to say if you feel like saying it.
  • Why patients don’t challenge a doctor’s diagnosis: A previous bad experience challenging a doctor
    • My response: Don’t let your past rule your present. No two doctors are alike. Believe that your doctor has your best interest at heart.

In good health,

About the Author

Josephine Bila

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I’m Josephine Bila, LMSW, a licensed social worker for you — the health seeker who craves an energized body, strong relationships, and the willpower to overcome any obstacle.

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  1. Sajid Hussain

    A lot of it is down to self-confidence too.Educating ourselves leads to empowerment. Which in turn leads to better self confidence which leads to self-efficacy. And I think that has to be the ultimate goal.

  2. Sheila Bergquist

    This is a great post because many people don’t challenge anything a doctor tells them. Doctors can make it hard to do, but you have to stand up for yourself and get the information you want and need. I agree with all your points.
    Hope you had a great time on your vacation!

  3. Greg Ransome

    Another great post. Relevant too.
    People over here can be quite timid in nature IMHO and in my experience many GPs act as if they are always the smartest person in the room. (I find it hard to believe they will always be the smartest on every single medical issue).
    Consequently they find it difficult being challenged by some little old lady/man who did their research elsewhere. Smugness is the first problem you have.
    Vindictiveness is often the second (once you’ve ruffled their feathers). That’s why many do not challenge over here. With the NHS, doctors don’t really feel you’re a customer because their practice gets funds whether you get an appt or not!
    It was only when I got to the very end of my tether that I challenged left, right & centre. Now I’m known as a trouble maker (LOL) but at least they always let me have my say now. Their attitude does change once you push back & get thru their anger at being challenged.

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