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As a patient, what can and should I do if I'm calling
with an important question (a problematic, uncomfortable -- but not
emergency room-worthy -- symptom, or a prescription is running
out and I urgently need a refill) and I simply cannot get the doctor
to respond, or get what I need from the office. Every time I call, the
office staff say they'll pass on the message, or I leave voice mail
messages, and I don't get a call back from the doctor. And if I
reach staff, they say "We've passed this on to the doctor, but we
can't make him or her call you back, we'll just leave another
message," etc. -- Betty
DR. MARIE SAVARD ANSWERS
|I wish I could give you a straight and sure-fire answer, but I
can't. You first must ask yourself whether you trust your doctor and want
to stick with him/her for the long run. Because if you have not established
a longstanding relationship and you could readily change doctors then that
makes the most sense. On the other hand, many people really don't have a
choice; either their doctor is the best in their specialty or is the only
one available. In that case you need to persist.
As far as the
prescription needing a refill, do everything you can in the future to
request the refill long before you need it. Sometimes your pharmacist will
help out by calling the doctor's office for you.
If you have troubling symptoms that you need to discuss with your doctor,
make an appointment if you can. Many doctors prefer seeing you
face-to-face. If an appointment isn't realistic then let the office staff
know exactly what is troubling you and why you are so worried. Office staff
usually respond better to patients that trust them to give this private
information to the doctor. I can remember my own offic staff getting angry
when patients wouldn't tell them exactly what it was they needed to speak to
the doctor about. It is your health on the line, so kindly but firmly
persist! (August, 2002)
Marie Savard, M.D. is an internationally known internist and women’s health expert, author and champion for patient rights and responsibilities. She is the founder of The Savard System and author of two highly acclaimed books, How to Save Your Own Life: The Savard System for Managing and Controlling Your Healthcare and The Savard Health Record: a six-step system for managing your health care. For more information from Dr. Savard, read:
For more information on Marie Savard's books, The Savard Health Record: A Six Step System for Managing Your Healthcare, and How to Save Your Own Life: Dr. Savard's Nine Steps to Getting the Healthcare You Really Need, see http://www.thyroid-info.com/savard.htm.
Dr. Marie Savard's website is located at www.drsavard.com.