He touched you inappropriately
There are no hard stats on how many doctors sexually molest, harass, or abuse their patients, but it definitely happens, according to a study published in Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment. This is not only a crime, but also a clear violation of the doctor-patient relationship and can be devastating for victims. The researchers found the most common characteristics included being male and insisting on seeing patients alone. You should be allowed to have a nurse present during physical exams, and if a doctor declines, that's reason enough to fire him. Here are more medical tips that doctors and nurses wish you knew.
Her office is filthy
Despite the number of sick people going in and out, doctors' offices are generally pretty sanitary places—even commonly handled items, like magazines, have actually showed pretty low levels of contaminants, according to a study in the British Journal of General Practice. But there have been cases of patients picking up serious or even fatal illnesses from improperly cleaned offices and equipment. You can't see germs but a dirty, unkempt office is a good tip-off that things aren't being sanitized properly.
He stops taking your insurance
This one is more practical than moral, but paying out-of-pocket or even out-of-network costs is one way to drain your bank account fast. Keep your insurance information current and pay attention to any letters you get about changes in your doctor's insurance. Health insurance can be a tricky system to navigate, so make sure you know these 18 secrets your health insurer is keeping from you.
She prescribes antibiotics for everything
Antibiotic resistance is one of the top health concerns facing the world today, and a major contributing factor is the overuse of these drugs, according to the World Health Organization. In fact, one in three antibiotic prescriptions in the United States is unnecessary, according to the Centers for Disease Control. If your doctor either suggests antibiotics for everything ("just in case") or bows to pressure from you ("it just feels like strep throat"), they're not doing you (or the world) any favors. Got a cold? Use these doctor-approved tips for treating a head cold safely.
He advertises a ton of different procedures
Being a jack-of-all-trades may be a bonus in fields like acting or plumbing, but when it comes to medical care, the more specialized your doc is, the better care you'll get, says David Norris, CEO of MD Insider, a company that evaluates physicians based on their performance data. "Our data show that high performance comes down to how many times they've done that particular procedure," he says. "The more they've done it, for the most part, the better they are at it." So avoid doctors who advertise everything from face lifts to back surgery—because they can't be an expert in everything.
He won't admit his mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes, even super-smart doctors, but the risks are higher in medicine. Check out the fatal mistakes doctors have confessed to making. A good doc will be open, honest and upfront with you about how things are going, Norris says. So if your doctor is always covering his tracks, blaming others, or if he flat-out lies to you, it's time to find a new one. Honesty and transparency are the foundation of trust, and without them you can't get good care, he adds. Here's how to find a doctor you can trust.
He doesn't tell you the truth about your health
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Physicians often minimize problems, fail to tell the whole truth, or resort to overly simplified explanations, especially when it comes to delivering news they know you won't like, according to a study published in the Primary Care Companion. (Take, for instance, these 50 things doctors wish they could tell you about losing weight.) This may lead you to think you're healthier than you are or to overlook a serious condition. You need someone who isn't afraid to tell you the whole truth, in a kind and empathetic way.
She orders every possible test
More is not more when it comes to medical tests. "Contrary to popular belief, more testing does not generally result in better outcomes," Norris says. Sometimes the doctor will order unnecessary tests because she has a business reason for doing so, like she owns a stake in a certain company, gets a financial incentive, or just hasn't done the necessary research to narrow done what might be ailing you—and rare is the patient who offers no clues at all in the office. These are the overprescribed medical tests you probably don't need.
He never tells you "no"
Whether it's the result of Googling symptoms, bad advice from a friend, or just ego, sometimes patients come to a doctor with a very specific, but flawed request. (Which also happens to be one of the top things patients do that doctors find annoying!) It's fine to ask for what you want, but it's the doctor's job to listen carefully, evaluate your symptoms, and then decide if that's in your best interest medically. You may like a doctor who gives you medication or orders tests on demand, but ultimately they probably aren't helping you—and may just be trying to avoid a bad online review, according to Norris. Just as in business, you don't want a "yes man" in medical care.
She doesn't listen when you talk
Patients have to wait an average of 24 days to get an appointment (for a non-emergency visit); then they have to wait an average of 30 minutes in the office before seeing a doctor, according to a survey done by Merritt Hawkins, and yet the average exam lasts fewer than 15 minutes. What's worse, patients are typically allowed to speak for only 12 seconds before being interrupted, according to a separate study in Family Practice. While doctors don't have a lot of control over their wait times, they can—and should—give you adequate time to speak and listen to you when you're in their office. Note: This is what doctors are really thinking about during your visit.