Saturday, August 21, 2010

What to Do if You Feel Your Doctor is Incompetent

The feeling of helplessness is never stronger than when you’re ill or incapacitated by disease –you are physically challenged and short of energy, not to mention the fact that you’re unable to go about your daily routine as usual. You depend on your doctor or healthcare practitioner to provide a solution, both temporary (to eliminate the symptoms) and permanent (to get you back to normal). However, if you feel your doctor is incompetent and less than efficient, the feeling of inadequacy is compounded a hundred times or more.

Some doctors are incompetent because they may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol; others may just be preoccupied with their own problems instead of paying attention to you and your illness; and yet others are just not capable enough. If you feel your doctor is inebriated or using drugs, follow the proper procedure and report him or her for incompetency. This way, you save other patients from becoming a victim of misdiagnosis and other medical errors. If they don’t seem to be giving you enough attention, ask politely that they pay heed to your issue; and if you still feel neglected, it’s time to change doctors.

Faulty diagnoses and repeated treatments could get you feeling that your doctor is not doing the right thing and that he or she is incompetent when it comes to doing their job well. It’s always best to find a different doctor, someone who comes highly recommended by your friends or family members or others close to you, when you’re not happy with your initial diagnosis or method of treatment. When you choose someone that you can trust, it’s easy to believe in their competence and capability.
Remember, your doctor may not really be incompetent; he or she may appear that way to you because you’re not satisfied with their approach to treating you or because you may be prejudiced towards them for some other reason. However, if you sense incompetence, the best thing to do is change your medical practitioner and get another diagnosis from someone else you trust.

A recent study conducted at the Mongan Institute for Health Policy at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, has found that one-third of doctors surveyed did not report colleagues who they knew were incompetent or impaired because of alcohol, drugs or other problems. This is a frightening scenario in deed – if you were to be treated by someone who cannot be trusted by their peers, how good is your chance of recovery?

So if your instincts tell you not to trust your doctor, go with them because it’s your life and health at stake, and find someone else who you believe will be good for you and your family.

This guest post is contributed by Maryanne Osberg, who writes on the topic of RN to MSN Online. She can be reached at mary.anne579@(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

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