The 6 Doctors to Avoid

Lisa Wogan  |   July 2013   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION

1. The Too-Busy-to-Talk Doc There are lots of reasons it may seem like your doctor wants to bolt: shortage of time, poor bedside manner, or the real desire to be elsewhere. But wanting a doctor to demonstrate he or she has time and interest in your well-being isn’t about your self-esteem, it’s actually a matter of good health. Studies show that patients who are satisfied with a doctor visit are more likely to follow that doctor’s advice.

2. The E-buddy Beware the doctor who “friends” you on Facebook. This is not the brave new world of improved digital communications; by doing so, the physician crosses a very important line. (Receiving medical info via text message—also not recommended.)

3. The Upseller Feel like you’re being upsold on unnecessary tests and interventions? You’re probably right. Overprescribing tests and procedures has been widely cited in the health care reform debate as a source of high costs and potentially bad outcomes. Buyer, er, patient beware.

4. The Down-talker Because they have all the information and expertise, doctors hold a lot of the cards, but that doesn’t mean they should hold it over you and keep you from asking questions—even about kooky things you read on the Internet. Good doctors want informed and engaged patients who actively participate in their care.

5. The Guilt Tripper That’s what you have a mother for. If you feel judged about your high heels, extra weight or active sex life, you just might hide a life-saving detail from your doctor. Find someone you don’t need to impress.

6. The Doomsayer Either this doctor is transparent to a fault or just covering his or her back, but the result is a complete rundown of every possible scenario—heavy on the worst case—leaving you too paralyzed to take action.

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