May 4, 2010

If a Doctor Looks at His Watch During a Doctor's Appointment Should You Fire Him?

Are your sure you have the best personal care physician in your immediate area?....
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

We have a neighbor, he is 84 years old. Every time time he has an ache or a pain or a stomach ache he goes to the doctor. When he returns home he usually has two new prescription medications. Two. Not one, two.

It mystifies me.

For example, a few days ago he woke up, had a case of diarrhea and called his doctor for an appointment. Do you call the doctor the moment you have diarrhea? Later that day, away he goes to his doctor with his wife in tow.

I am thinking to myself, two prescriptions? Sure enough, later in the day I go over and check. Yep, two prescriptions. You might be laughing at this point.

About a year ago, I asked his wife. When he goes to the doctor does she look at her watch during the appointment? She answered, I don't know. From that point on, every time they went to the doctor I reminded her, let me know if your doctor looks at her watch during the appointment.

Sure enough the doctor looked at her watch every time.

It happened with Dotty -- ONCE. The incident occurred a few personal care physicians back. I didn't say anything. I changed doctor's. If I had a chance to do it over, I would have said, why are you looking at your watch? Once I received my red faced answer we could go from there.

If it ever happens to us again, if the doctor looks at his watch during an appointment, I promise I am going to ask why. If I get a really good explanation, no problem. If not?
I am going to fire that doctor on the spot.
When a person looks at their watch while you are talking to them, it often signals that they are not interested in what you are saying. Of course, it could also mean they need to be somewhere else. Well, that also indicates they are not listening and are not interested in what you are saying.

It is important to look for these kinds of nonverbal signals while you are at your doctor appointment.

There could be a simple explanation when a doctor looks at his/her watch during an appointment. Maybe s/he is running behind schedule. Of course, if the main goal is to catch back up, then it only stands to reason that some patients are going to get some shoddy treatment.

My neighbor is like the little boy that cries wolf. Someday he is going to go to his really crappy doctor with a real illness and she is going to write him a couple of quick prescriptions and send him on his way.

Our neighbor and his wife are elderly and don't like to drive. Nevertheless, they drive more then 10 miles each way through traffic when they go to the doctor. Right through a heavy traffic Mall area.

Dotty's excellent doctor is less then 1.5 miles from our door. I repeatedly suggest to our neighbors that they change over to our doctor. They won't do it. Meanwhile, they do just about anything else I suggest or recommend. When the "carp" is hitting the fan with a doctor they come a running. They can never, ever, tell me what the problem is, or if the doctor even bothered to explain the problem.

If you want to keep going to your crappy doctor, God bless you.

I want my mother to have the best, or one of the best personal care doctors, and nothing can deter me from accomplishing that mission.

I'll stay with our current doctor as long as she doesn't start looking at her watch during our check-up.

Please answer this question. Are your sure you have the best personal care physician in your immediate area? If not, why not?

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Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,400 articles with more than 9,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room