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When a medical relationship breaks down

It is more than likely that you have a regular healthcare provider. It may be a health facility that you frequently patronize, or a general practitioner that you see every so often. Or even a specialist whom you have tended to see for specific health problems. Whatever the case, many years of being cared for by the same healthcare provider inevitably leads to some sort of professional relationship. Either party feels at ease with each other, positively impacting on ongoing medical interactions.

But even well-rooted professional relationships can falter. This can be due to a variety of reasons, either initiated by yourself, or by your doctor. Let’s start with you. Over a period of time, you may start getting dissatisfied with the kind of service you are getting. It may be simple things like long waiting times to see your doctor, or unavailability of suitable appointments. More seriously, you may start distrusting your doctor’s competence, sensing an ever increasing need to seek further opinions elsewhere. Whatever it is that comes up, you may get to a turning point, mandating delinking yourself from a longstanding medical affair.

Your doctor too may get to a point where they are no longer interested in your custom. They may be getting too busy, and looking to filter out some patients from their practice. They may find you unwanted for other seemingly simple reasons. May be you are too demanding, or a hypochondriac who annoyingly keeps consulting for mundane reasons. Or your doctor may just be transiting into a more specialized practice, meaning that you’d be better off seeing somebody else. Well, your doctor too is at liberty of severing your longstanding relationship.

Whatever the reasons for the breakdown of a medical relationship, you must be ready to move on. You could try to work things out with your doctor. Bring up any issues arising from your end, and see whether a common ground can be found to restore the relationship. Mending an icy relationship that appears to have been initiated by your healthcare provider can be trickier. It’s however more likely that you end up with a formal communication explaining your available options. You see, medical ethics mandate doctors to facilitate ongoing care, if they are unable to provide such care themselves.

Moving on shouldn’t be too much of a problem when a longstanding medical relationship comes to an end. All you need is to shop around for alternate healthcare providers. Take your time and come up with a checklist of things that really matter to you, especially if you had negative experiences from your previous doctors. Who knows, getting yourself a new doctor may be a fresher health perspective, leading you into better health ideals. Well, until this new relationship gets to its inevitable end, which it must, as with all kinds of relationships.

Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynecologist and Fertility Specialist. amurage@mygyno.co.ke

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