Whether your doctor is in Dayton or anywhere in the Tri-State area, you go to them for their professional medical advice. You go because they studied medicine for years and have experience with cases similar to yours. That does not change the fact that to live your healthiest life, you must take an active role in your healthcare.
You need to communicate and work with your doctor in order to get the best outcome. Your priorities may not be the same as someone else’s or what your doctor would guess they are, so at your doctor appointment, it’s important to be prepared with questions.
It’s easy to forget what you wanted to ask if you are coming up with questions on the fly. Well before the appointment, sit down and make a list of questions you want to ask. List them in order of their importance to you, and review them again before your appointment.
Questions You May Want to Ask During Your Doctor Appointment
The questions you ask your doctor will depend upon your circumstances. Perhaps you are discussing options, getting tests, or getting surgery. These will all warrant different questions.
Here are some basic questions to get you started, but think about what else you want to know.
1. What is the test for? Some tests are necessary and some are not. Also, there are risks involved in taking some tests, so you should be involved in the decision.
2. How and when will I get my test results, and what should I do then? This seems a mundane question, but there is nothing worse than anxiously awaiting test results. You need to understand the procedure. You also need to know when to follow up if you are not contacted with your results.
3. What exactly is my diagnosis? You need to understand exactly what your health problem is. If you don’t understand what your doctor is saying, make them repeat it until you do.
4. Are you sure of this diagnosis or could I have other problems? Sometimes a doctor may be unsure of what is behind your health problem and they are making an educated guess. You need to know that. You also need to know whether you may have multiple health problems that are causing your symptoms.
5. What are my treatment options, and what are the pros and cons of each? The days are gone when doctors decide on the best treatment without patient input. Some treatments are more invasive than others. You and your doctor should discuss your options.
6. Which treatment do you recommend and why? Even though you will ultimately decide on your treatment, you should do so with the benefit of your doctor’s medical training and experience.
7. Why do I need this treatment? You may think the treatment will solve all your medical problems, when in fact it may just solve some of them.
8. What are the best- and worst-case scenarios for outcomes? You need to have realistic expectations and be able to weigh the risks and costs of the treatment against potential outcomes.
9. Is timing important? Will I have a better outcome if we do this procedure sooner rather than later? If it’s important that you need to undergo the procedure soon in order to improve its chances for success, you need to know that.
10. Do you think I should consult a specialist? Do you think I should get a second opinion? Some diagnosis and treatment plans are much more cut-and-dried than others. It is fine to ask your doctor about the advisability of getting a second opinion or consulting with a specialist.
11. How many times have you done this procedure? There is a first time for every doctor to perform a procedure or a surgery. Make sure your doctor is experienced in the procedure they are recommending to you.
12. After the procedure, will I still be able to do this thing that is important to me? Medicine is not always a panacea, and there can be trade-offs. If you don’t tell your doctor that your main concern is preserving your ability to make a champion golf swing, your doctor may focus on reducing your pain or some other goal. Ideally, all will be possible. But that’s not always the case. You should be the person to choose, not your doctor.
13. What are the possible complications? There are always possible complications. You need to know what they are and how likely they are.
14. Which hospital do you recommend and why? Some hospitals are better-equipped for certain types of procedures.
15. What drugs do I need to take and how do I take them? Don’t just get a piece of paper and hand it over to the pharmacist. Discuss your prescription drugs with your doctor.
16. Please spell the name of the drug(s). You need the correct spelling in order to conduct some of your own research.
17. What are the side effects? You must know the side effects in order to determine whether or not it’s worthwhile for you to take the drugs.
18. Will this drug interfere with or adversely interact with drugs I am already taking? Of course, your doctor should ask you about other drugs you are taking, but put this on your list. Some drug interactions can be fatal.
19. What else should I be doing? It’s possible that things you can do yourself such as diet and exercise could have a big impact on your condition. Make sure to discuss these with your doctor.
20. How much will this cost? Insurance doesn’t cover everything. You need to know the costs you are facing, so you can plan.
21. What have I not asked that I should have? Ask this question, because you don’t know what you don’t know.
After Your Appointment
If you are unclear about your doctor’s instructions or have more questions about a proposed treatment once you get home, don’t hesitate to call your doctor with your questions. When you call, have a written list in front of you in order of priority.
Of course, if you are having any side effects from a treatment or medication, call your doctor immediately. If you do not hear back on the results of tests, follow up. You cannot assume that nothing is wrong just because nobody has communicated with you. Don’t be shy about asking questions about test results or anything else concerning your health.
What to Do if You’ve Been Injured
Sometimes, doctors make mistakes. We’re all human. They may incorrectly diagnose a condition, miss an injury they should have caught, or prescribe us the wrong medication or too much of the right one. When this happens, it’s easy to chalk it up to something that you should have noticed or done yourself, but you have legal rights when it comes to your health.
If you’ve been injured because of an error your doctor or medical team made, or perhaps a medical device you had implanted was faulty, you may be able to recover damages through a medical malpractice or product liability claim. The law limits the amount of time in which you have to file a claim, based on the date you discovered your injury, so be sure to contact an experienced attorney to discuss your case with you.
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