When bedside manners lack: Navigating an arrogant doctor

We all trust doctors to be knowledgeable, skillful, and pleasant. They hold our health in their hands, and a positive interaction can significantly impact our well-being. However, encountering an arrogant physician can be a frustrating and even demoralizing experience. If you’ve ever faced this, know you’re not alone. Here are some tips on navigating such situations.

Lisa was diagnosed almost four years ago with progressive MS, but the treatment she was receiving raised her white blood cell count, and she needed to explore other options. Her neurologist suggested she go to an “expert” at the University of Michigan for the next step in treatment options.

When she arrived, she had a quick workup with one of the PAs and then met with the doctor in charge. The physician insisted that she did not have MS because there was no evidence of it on her MRI scan. Her MS had been diagnosed via a painful spinal tap, but this doctor didn’t want to hear any of that. He dismissed her and told her to go to a neurologist.

Unfortunately, incidents like this happen all the time. Some physicians believe they know it all and don’t want to engage patients in a real dialogue. Here are some things patients can do to manage a situation like Lisa’s.

Focus on communication: Clearly express your concerns and symptoms. Use “I” statements, like “I’m feeling…” or “I’m concerned about…” This helps avoid accusatory language and keeps the focus on your health. If the doctor interrupts or dismisses your concerns, politely but firmly request clarification or elaboration.

Stay calm and collected: Reacting in anger or frustration is unlikely to yield positive results. Maintain a fair and respectful demeanor, even if the doctor’s tone is anything but. Remember, your goal is to receive proper care, not engage in a battle of egos.

Seek clarity and understanding: If the doctor uses jargon or medical terms you don’t understand, don’t hesitate to ask for explanations. Understanding your diagnosis and treatment options is crucial for informed decision-making.

Gather information: Research your condition beforehand and come prepared with questions. This demonstrates your proactiveness and helps ensure you receive the information you need.

Consider seeking a second opinion: If you remain uncomfortable or unconvinced after the initial consultation, consult another doctor. A second opinion can provide valuable insight and peace of mind.

Remember, you have a voice: While respecting medical professionals is essential, you have the right to advocate for your health. If you feel mistreated or unheard, consider filing a complaint with the relevant medical board.

Please focus on the bigger picture: Dealing with an arrogant doctor can be draining, but don’t let it overshadow your health. Remember, your well-being is the priority. Stay focused on receiving the proper care and treatment.

Maintain perspective: Arrogance can stem from various factors, like stress or workload. While not excusing their behavior, try to recognize that it might not be personal. Focusing on the bigger picture can help you stay calm and objective.

Navigating an arrogant doctor can be challenging, but staying calm, assertive, and informed can ensure you receive the care you deserve. Remember, your health is your top priority, and advocating for yourself is essential.

Bonus tip: If you have a positive experience with a kind and empathetic doctor, consider leaving them a positive review or recommendation. Sharing your appreciation for good bedside manners can encourage and inspire others in the medical field.

I hope this blog post provides helpful guidance for anyone facing an arrogant physician. Remember, you deserve respectful and effective care; advocating for yourself is critical.