What We’re Reading: Finding a Doctor Who Listens

As someone who has diabetes, you probably have trips to the physician’s office down to a science. You pack up your logbook, write up your list of issues to discuss with the doctor, and make sure to take off your shoes and socks for a foot inspection before the doctor even enters the room. But once he’s there, what if you find that, although he’s hearing you, he isn’t really listening to what you have to say?

According to an article by dLife author Ilene Raymond Rush, many people encounter this situation when they visit their health-care provider. She recounts the words of an elderly aunt who lamented, “Doctors don’t listen once you reach a certain age.” And she notes that this type of situation can be particularly devastating for the newly diagnosed, for whom the change in lifestyle required for managing diabetes may seem overwhelming.

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Although she admits that everyone’s criteria are a little different, Raymond Rush offers the following three qualities she looks for when seeking a physician:

  • A willingness to share her medical information with her
  • An interest in the health concerns she raises
  • A readiness to talk to her and respond to her questions

Have you ever felt like your doctor wasn’t really listening to your concerns? What qualities do you look for in a physician? Let us know with a comment below. Then check out our article “Questions For Your Doctor” for questions you can ask your doctor to help ensure quality health-care.

This blog entry was written by Assistant Editor Diane Fennell.

  • Steve Parker, M.D.

    If you don’t like your doctor, please change doctors. It’s best that way for both of you.

    Be aware that most office-based doctors are under financial pressure to see 20-30 patients per day. If they don’t see that many, they will go out of business or be fired by their employer. Most doctors treating diabetes cannot spend 30+ minutes with each patient.

    At the start of the visit, ask the doctor how much time she has for you today. If your list of issues is more than three items, try to schedule a 30+ minute visit. Or come back more often for the standard 10-15 minute visit. For every 10-minute visit, the doctor does and extra 5 minutes work on your case that you don’t see.

    Doctors would like to spend more time listening and talking to you. They would also like to stay in business. Some doctors will sacrifice the wellbeing of themselves and their families in order to “be there” for you. But many will not.

    Consider a doctor practicing “concierge medicine.” She may have more time to listen and talk to you. That option may be more expensive, but isn’t your life worth it?

    -Steve
    Advanced Mediterranean Diet Blog

  • kcolli21

    I had to find a new endo for my type 1 diabetes 2 yrs ago because of insurance. I stressed to this doctor that I go very low everyday into the 30’s and 40’s. You know what her advice was? “Oh, just have a couple of peanuts before you go low, you need some protein” I just let my mouth hit the floor and never went back again, the worst advice I have ever heard.