About this post: Questions to your doctor are legitimate.
There are three questions you should have answered when dealing with any medical condition:
- Question 1: What is wrong with me? This is your Diagnosis.
- Question 2: What can be done about it? (i.e. What treatment or series of treatment options do I have?) This is the Management Plan regarding the treatment options.
- Question 3: What will be the long-term effect of my condition? This is the Prognosis.
Often, there is not enough time to discuss these questions, let alone time to discuss them with your doctor. Doctors are under pressure with too many patients and tend to have little time available to deal with the questions that trouble their patients. However, it is your life, your back, your pain, your disability and your right and responsibility to get the correct management. Therefore, it is best to plan your questions before you enter the physician’s surgery, so that you are ready to put your questions on the table and, quite frankly, insist on answers to your questions.
To put the importance of asking questions in perspective, let us consider the following example:
You have a car losing power, you take it to a car mechanic.
The mechanic, having looked at your vehicle, maybe after running some tests, in response to your legitimate questions, could for instance say:
- The petrol pump is not functioning properly, therefore your car is losing power. (Diagnosis)
- I can remove the pump, then either fix it or replace it. (Management Plan)
- After that, you will be able to drive normally again, safely for many more kilometers. (Prognosis)
Should the mechanic, however, say: “Look your car is old, wear and tear have occurred. Wash the car, put it in your garage for a week to have a good rest and then drive carefully and slowly”. You would not be satisfied.
As a patient, you and your medical condition should be handled with the care and respect, that you and your condition require. This means: You are entitled to the answers to these three vital questions: What is the Diagnosis; What is the Management Plan; and What will the Prognosis be?
The relationship between patient and doctor should always be governed by common courtesy and the ethics of medicine; a patient is always entitled to this.
As a patient with a medical condition, your complaint needs to be heard. You need to be properly examined and, if necessary, relevant tests should be run. This is done with the clear goal of your doctor being able to give you an accurate diagnosis, that you can discuss together, which will lead to a decisive management plan and a clear long-term outcome.
Also read “Diagnosis is Important“