Should You Fire Your Doctor?

How do you know? 

I remember my days back in the corporate world (HR) that it was all but understood that roughly 25% of all employees were severely under-performing. And 10% were all but out the door and set to be fired! I also remember working with a lot of different types of people. Some were educated and smart, some were educated and, well, not so smart. Some were un-educated but smart as hell. 

Shouldn't we then assume that, even though all doctors are educated that at least a certain percentage of them just aren't very good at their job? 

In the words of the late George Carlin. 
"Somewhere in the world is the world's worst doctor. And what's truly terrifying is that someone has an appointment with him tomorrow morning".

So how do you know? 

I always see people put things on Facebook like "Should I get a Galaxy S4 or and iPhone 5"? Or "What's a good Restaurant in Traverse City"? Shouldn't we do as much research on our doctor as we do on our next smart phone purchase? I'm not necessarily saying to put it on Facebook, but did you do research on your doctor? Did your friend tell you they were "good"? What does that mean anyway? If that doctor is good for your friend does that mean he/she is good for you?
I am by no means saying to stop going to the doctor or not to trust yours - I don't however put the health of my entire family in somebody's hands without doing my own research.

Here are a list of things you may hear that should put you on high alert when visiting your doctor.  

 1. Your BMI is too high. There are people with high BMI's that are perfectly healthy and then there are people with low BMI's with elevated body fat percentages that are unhealthy. BMI is meant for populations. Not individuals. 

 2. Don't lift heavy weights. This is almost always bad advice. Find a trainer that knows what they are doing and learn to lift heavy weights. The hard part here is finding somebody that knows what they are doing. 

**Note - if the trainer/program does not include barbell training you need to look elsewhere. Assuming the goal is to get stronger. 

 3. You need to go on blood pressure medication. I once read something somewhere and it has stuck with me ever since. "Nobody has high blood pressure because they aren't on blood pressure medication". I find this hard to dispute based on logic alone. Something else is going on, find a way to fix it. Work with your doctor to do this.
**Note - if you are on BP medication please don't just stop taking it without talking to your doctor. 

 4. Your cholesterol is too high. This one is dicey...It is so ingrained in our country that elevated cholesterol is going to lead to a heart attack that this may come off as crazy talk from an internet idiot...that being said. Do your research. Google the "cholesterol myth" and start reading. Also look up the side effects of cholesterol lowering medications for additional fun. 
In short - just to keep it simple...If you are trying to lower your cholesterol through cholesterol lowering medications (statins) and removing cholesterol from your diet, you may be doing more harm than good. 

Quick personal story...
In 2007 prior to starting a regular exercise routine I had full blood work done - I was a mess. High cholesterol, elevated blood glucose, high BP, etc. I remember my doctor telling me that my cholesterol levels were dangerous and that we needed to "keep a close eye on that". I was supposed to make a follow up appointment but never did. Fast forward a few years. I had made some changes started working out and lost a lot of weight. I needed to get a physical for something and made an appointment. I had the same blood work done. My doctor (a published obesity researcher) was stunned at my lowered cholesterol levels. She asked me what I was eating and how I managed to do that - when I told her she said that the reason my cholesterol was so low was because of genetics. Um...what? What about when they were dangerously high? Did I suddenly have different genes? My diet at the time included roughly 300% of the US RDA of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. She told me that was too much (fat). What? Why? My blood work was optimal according to her! With that - she asked me to make an appointment in 6 months but was at a loss for my blood work results coupled with my diet which included so much dietary fat! I haven't been back to her since.

5. Your arm is broken. You need to go to the ER.  Good advice. Go to the ER.
Do your research. Read. Search the web. Talk to friends. Ask questions. Find out if your doctor has your best interests in mind. Maybe your doctor is awesome. Maybe he/she is educated, smart, cares about your family and wants the best for all of you. But how do you know?
I've encountered good and bad in my life...good and bad fast food workers, lawyers, accountants, cable guys, chiropractors, dental hygienists and yes, doctors. 

Maybe your doctor is awesome. 

Or maybe they should be fired. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John Durant September 08, 2013 at 06:52 PM
great post
Jason David September 08, 2013 at 08:05 PM
Thank you!
Dan Hoang September 09, 2013 at 03:50 PM
I would keep going to her so you can prove her research wrong.
Jason Alexander (Editor) September 09, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Luckily, my doctor is awesome. How is yours?
Barry Canavan September 09, 2013 at 08:21 PM
Though I understand the gist and point you are trying to make with this article, please be careful in doling out such advice. As a Physician Assistant for the past 6 years and a Paramedic before that I would cite trust and truly feeling comfortable as the most predictable sign that you have a 'good' doctor or better said your relationship with your healthcare provider is a successful one. Provider/patient relationships are exactly that a two way street. Though I currently work in the Emergency Department I encounter many folks who do not see the Primary Care Provider on a regular basis or worse yet simply don't have one and though they could get one simply do not because they have an intense fear of failure from some of my colleagues who have set forth rigid demands for their patients and when they fail set forth with condescending lectures filled with disappointment. (ie: you really need to quit smoking and I am shocked you are putting yourself at so much risk, think about your children etc) As providers we are also human and we must get to know you as patients. Some of you will be motivated as hell to reach your health goals and we need to listen and cheer you on as your advocates others are simply scared to death and we need to be patient that change does take time, fear is a real thing and we can only bring a horse to water, drinking the water of healthy choices is a big step and we must respect the emotional entanglements that come with fear. Next time you go to your healthcare provider, ask yourself this, do you truly feel comfortable when you are there, does your provider treat you like a person or better yet like a (loving) member of the family and do you feel like you can tell them or ask them anything without judgment and get the truth. If the answers aforementioned questions are yes, then you have a good provider for you no matter how smart they are or where they went to school. However, if the answers are 'no' and you feel like you are number or you are on an assembly line then yes perhaps you do need to look elsewhere. We need to put the 'human' back into medicine. Barry Canavan, PA-C
Jason David September 09, 2013 at 09:23 PM
@Dan, I chose to just walk away :-). @Barry, I agree with you. I tried to write the article in a way that would make people think, not necessarily make huge decisions. If somebody is walking into their doctor mindlessly with a sniffle expecting a pill - and that's how they want to live, I'm not going to judge. If they read this and think I'm a crazy, that's cool too. I do think there are a lot of people out there that take advice that may not be the best for them, and I wrote this with my personal situation in mind. I'm still looking for a primary care provider myself.
Jennifer Baumgart-Crabb September 12, 2013 at 09:08 AM
@Barry Canavan -I'm sure with he PA-C 6 years of experience would lead to you recommend certain doctors over others if your family ever came into your ER. Think about that. I agree with you and appreciated the point you made. Take the article for what it is. Encouraging people to raise questions should never be discouraged. As a health care provider Barry, I am surprise you would "be careful as to doling out such advice."
Jennifer Baumgart-Crabb September 12, 2013 at 09:08 AM
@Barry Canavan -I'm sure with he PA-C 6 years of experience would lead to you recommend certain doctors over others if your family ever came into your ER. Think about that. I agree with you and appreciated the point you made. Take the article for what it is. Encouraging people to raise questions should never be discouraged. As a health care provider Barry, I am surprise you would "be careful as to doling out such advice."
jan September 13, 2013 at 11:52 AM
Should your doctor fire YOU? It's a two-way street and a doctor has the right to not take you as a patient.
Jason David September 13, 2013 at 01:01 PM
@Jan, I've never heard of a doctor doing this but I would agree. Are you a doctor? When/why would a doctor want to fire their patient?
Sarah September 16, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Yes, doctors can and do ask patients not to make further appointments if a patient demonstrates behaviors such as a significant level of non-compliance with treatment recommendations (with the non-compliance assessed over a reasonable amount of time) or he/she has an expectation for an outcome that the physician knows is not achievable. Patients can also be asked not to return if they are [extremely rude] or belligerent to the physician or to the office staff through the use of vulgarity, screaming, etc.


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