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Does Your Doctor Communicate Well With You?

How to Choose a Colon Surgeon: Consideration #7

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Updated: April 29, 2008

Good communication is crucial in health care. You need to understand what your doctor is telling you so you'll be more at ease and be able to follow pre- and post-surgery instructions well. Your doctor needs to comprehend your concerns and answer your questions thoroughly.

Accents

If you speak with a doctor (either in person or on the telephone) and you have trouble understanding her because of an accent, she may not be the right doctor for you. If you get the impression your doctor doesn't understand you, it's important to find a doctor who is better at navigating accents.

Personality

If you ever feel sheepish or stupid when talking with a doctor about your condition, he isn't the right doctor for you. The doctor/patient relationship should be one of mutual respect. You should feel free to ask questions about alternative treatment options, and comfortable disclosing behaviors that may not put you in the best light. You should never feel judged by your doctor.

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Yes, doctors tend to be busy, but they need to be 100% with you during your visit. It's important that you feel comfortable asking questions about your surgery, pre- and post-op. If your doctor is distracted or in a palpable rush, you're unlikely to feel comfortable asking questions that could improve your quality of life and help ensure a successful surgery.

Bottom Line

Although good communication is one of the less scientific factors to consider when selecting a colon surgeon, it's important. Whether a person understands a doctor and how a doctor makes someone feel can significantly influence adherence to pre- and post-op instructions and the likelihood of contacting the doctor if something just doesn't seem right after surgery.

We're human. We have feelings. And those feelings tend to influence our actions and our health, whether we like it or not. Remaining mindful of that fact will help ensure that you pick the doctor who's best for you, both in the operating room and out.

Return to How to Find a Colon Surgeon: Seven Questions to Consider.

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