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Conflicts with your doctor

Patients and doctors tend to maintain a cordial professional relationship most times. And that’s how it should be. Sobriety is required when discussing what ails you, and what treatment options may be appropriate.

But every so often, your doctor’s recommendations might be in direct conflict from your own expectations. What happens then?

Any treatment recommendations are usually based on a thorough assessment of your condition. Clinical decisions must always be in your best interests. For one option to be preferred against another, there must be a good balance between benefits and risks.

Treatment goals must be objectively aligned to cure, or adequate control of symptoms. And the cost of the preferred treatment can never be ignored, this has a knock-on effect on overall healthcare provision both in public and private sectors.

An awkward situation can arise if disagreements on treatment options come up between you and your doctor. If your doctor has thoroughly evaluated your condition, they are at liberty to offer you an option that best suits your clinical scenario. Say you have something that can be managed conservatively without putting you into undue risk.

You might then be advised to do nothing. But you might be aware that surgery may sometimes be an option, and that may be your preference. Your trusted doctor will not budge, they have offered the most suitable treatment option and will not perform surgery on you under any circumstances.

So what do you do? Is the doctor negating your rights to choose whatever treatment option you desire, even when it may not be the most suitable? Your doctor too has the rights to desist from acceding to unreasonable demands from you. Doctors are never obliged to dance to your tunes on fanciful treatment options. You remain with many options in such scenarios.

You can choose to accept what was initially recommended, or decline and walk away. Your doctor can elect to refer you to a colleague for a second opinion, or you may choose to seek out another doctor by yourself. So long as your ailment is not life-threatening, immediate action from either party may not be warranted.

Situations where some conflicts occur between patients and doctors always impact on future relationships. You may feel you can no longer trust the doctor. Your doctor may also be of the view that you can sometimes be unreasonably demanding. If you feel obliged to consult the same doctor again at some point, you might find that your custom is no longer wanted by them. Once the relationship is seriously dented, the best way out may be for you to seek subsequent care elsewhere.

If you ever get into some conflict with your doctor, find an amicable way to resolve it. If it doesn’t work, cutting off the professional link and looking elsewhere is the way out.

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