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  • Writer's pictureIt’s Complicated

Advocating for your care - Q’s to ask your doctor

Any doctors appointment, with a new doctor or an old one, can be quite daunting. As someone with multiple chronic illnesses, I see many different types of doctors. Although I have a medical team (who I'm super grateful for), I still have to see a new consultant here and there. Unfortunately, medical gaslighting is a problem, as not many doctors listen to us or want to understand us. Over the years, I have found some things that work for me to make an appointment go smoother, which includes asking a set of questions. Questions would differ depending on who you're speaking to and what about, but the general sense is all the same.

Overall, you're trying to determine if that doctor is a good fit for you (yes, doctors can be a good fit or not, and you are allowed to say no and get a 2nd/3rd/4th opinion or just find someone you're comfortable with). Some things to think about include: Do they listen? Are they egotistical and gaslighting you? Are they willing to work with you on your care? Do they value your opinion and experience about your condition? Are you comfortable with them? Would they be a good addition to your medical team - will they work well with the other doctors in your care?

To keep this short, here are a list of questions to ask :

Are there any lifestyle changes I should make? What can make my condition worse?

What caused/could've caused this?

Do you understand/have any knowledge about my condition? (It's okay if they don’t but are willing to learn/do the research)

I am well versed in this condition and understand my body well, as well as being good at research, are you willing to work WITH me?

Why are we doing these tests? What is the thought process behind this?

What are the next steps?

Do I really need this medication or are there non pharma routes we can try first?

What is the aim with this medication?

What are the possible side effects?

Do you understand that every condition impacts each individual differently? Which means you can't base my care around the norm.

NHS blood tests are average, and this does not apply to me as a chronically ill person - can you check tests against past results to determine problems?

Do you see me as a whole person?

Are you willing to work alongside my existing medical team?

What support is available to me?

How can I reach you if I need to?

Ensure you know what the plan is, what the thinking process behind everything is, why those tests are being done and medications are being given, level of understanding the doctor has on the condition, where is the research. Remember this is YOUR care, YOUR health, YOUR body. You have knowledge and experience about yourself because you're the one with the condition. Ask all the questions you want. Dig around a little. Work together.


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