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You can influence how your doctor treats you

You may often wonder how doctors make decisions about treatment recommendations. It is not unusual for you to be suffering from the same condition as someone else, but both of you get very different recommendations. Ever wondered why this tends to be the case?

Many factors tend to influence how you get treated. Some factors may be obvious, but others may not necessarily be immediately apparent to you. The first consideration usually is whether your ailment is immediately life-threatening, or not. Beyond that what matters next is whether your condition is amenable to a cure, control of symptoms or just reassurance. Within an instant, an experienced doctor will then make specific recommendations on what to do next.

Your doctor’s expertise comes in handy. A doctor can only analyze and make recommendations about appropriate interventions if they have relevant qualifications. If you sense your doctor is struggling with your condition, do not hesitate to quiz them. Ask for a referral elsewhere, or simply ignore their recommendations and quickly seek an alternate opinion.

Prevailing healthcare resources will obviously influence your doctor’s decisions and recommendations. Is the health facility well equipped to offer you the best of treatment options? Or is a compromise required? If a certain equipment or gadget is unavailable, then you will simply not be offered some treatment options. And you may never know. Or if a novel skill is unavailable locally, then you will have to do with what is prevailing unless you can afford medical tourism elsewhere.

What about cost? Is your doctor completely impartial on what it costs to treat you, or do they usually have a vested interest? You don’t need to be reminded that most health facilities are not charitable, they are in the business of making profit. Could personal gain influence what your doctor ends up recommending as the best treatment option? Doctors must always take your best interests first, and recommend the most suitable treatment option for you. If you get an inkling that treatment recommendations appear bent onto maximum profits, ask for clarifications. Or go elsewhere.

Several strategies can sync medical decisions between you and your doctor. Be very well informed about what ails you, and what treatment choices are available. Take time to select your doctors, there’s always a way to sieve out quacks and only patronize those that ooze quality. Don’t take anything for granted, or any recommendations as the only options open to you. Your doctor should share decision making about your treatment with you. Ask questions, get everything clarified, and make sure you have been an active participant in your treatment journey. Engaging your doctor in a very proactive manner will ensure optimal decision making for you, and avoid any misunderstandings or unwarranted compromises.

Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynecologist and Fertility

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