Speak up for good care
LATELY, IT SEEMS as if all we can discuss is
healthcare. So many hard-to-digest changes are taking place that it’s easy to feel confused. Add to that
the fact that many of us feel as if our treatment is
sub-par, and it seems as if the system is fighting
against us rather than for us.
If you share any of these feelings, fear not! You
can prepare for a change and you can actively participate in your own healthcare reform. It starts with
a simple conversation.
Likely you go to the doctor for easy visits such
as the flu or your yearly checkup. However, you may
be less likely to visit if you have a list of chronic
symptoms that won’t go away but may not have been
properly diagnosed. You might tend to blame this
on your doctor and end up frustrated. But it might
not be the fault of the doctor or the system. Your
silence could be the biggest issue.
Many patients fear total honesty, or they don’t
want to be judged by their doctor, or they forget to
mention certain symptoms. Remember that you are
in control at your office visit, and while your doctor
does not have hours to spend being a therapist, he or
she should have time to really listen to you and figure out what is ailing you.
The following recommendations should help to
make your visits to the doctor’s office smoother.
Scheduling. When making your initial appointment, ask the receptionist if you can have an
appointment before lunch, but not the first appointment of the day. Your doctor needs to maintain a
strict schedule and will have to be more deliberate at
the very beginning of the day just in case all of his or
her appointments show up that day.
Preparation. Think about why you are actually
scheduling this appointment. What does your pain
feel like and to what degree is it hurting you? Is it a
sharp, shooting pain? Is there swelling? Once you
establish the best way to describe your ailments,
write them down. Bring this paperwork with you.
Arrival. Do not show up late. Get there at least
20 minutes early. You may even get in earlier if the
appointment before you is a no-show. At the very
least, if you are on time, you are making sure you
maximize the time you have with your doctor.
Appointment. When you are with the doctor,
be specific and brief, and know what ailments run in
your family. Your doctor may not need to hear about
your pets or job, but he or she does need to hear
about the persistent pain in your lower back. Also,
while some descriptions can be embarrassing or the
events leading up to an injury (i.e., the reason for the
I purchased a washer/dryer
in 2008 [not at Costco]. The
dryer motor stopped working and the company told
me that, since there is only
a one-year warranty, I must
pay for all parts and repairs.
They claim that the average
life expectancy of the dryer
is 10 years. Obviously, there
must have been a defect in
the motor initially, which
caused it to fail so early.
The washing machine leaks
detergent from the front
seal, another clear indication
of defective assembly. What
can I do to get the company
to accept responsibility for
fixing or replacing these
visit) are not something you want to openly share,
these details can help your doctor diagnose and
treat your problems. He or she has most likely heard
it all, so be honest.
Requests. Do you know what you want in
regard to treatment? Did a friend of yours recommend a certain medication? If your doctor does not
agree with what you have requested, he or she will
tell you that it is not advisable. Ultimately, you’re
going to go home and choose to follow what you
wish. The doctor can only suggest treatments.
Treatment. Follow what you are told by your
doctor fully. A common mistake that people make
is deciding that the medicine prescribed has
already worked and so finishing the dosage is a
waste of time. Your doctor wants you to
fully heal, not just kind of feel better.
Do not self-medicate. If you feel as
though the medicine is no longer
necessary, call your doctor and ask
what is recommended.
Follow-up. Don’t be afraid to
ask questions of the doctor or
nurses on staff, particularly if
you are having a reaction to a
Remember, at the end
of the day, your doctor is
there to help you. Physicians are able to practice
medicine because patients
require care. They are not
fighting against you, but
rather for you. Keep in
mind that you can at any
point switch healthcare
providers (based on your
insurance company’s rules
and regulations) if you are
unhappy. The doctor/patient
relationship should be enjoyable for both parties,
but you need to be proactive and fight for your
Cameron Park, CA
Wendy, I have found that peo-
ple with problems like yours
usually do not do well. With
washers and dryers
just out of war-
repair charges or
overs with new
Fight Back, bring
the problem to
of the company. It
is easy to find out his
or her name on the
Internet. Send a letter
to the president’s office
that quickly explains
how you were treated
and what can be done to
keep you a happy user of
their product. Make sure
the letter is sent with a
self-addressed return enve-
lope and receipt.
© 2010 FIGHT BACK! INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
David Horowitz is a leading consumer advocate (
He is a frequent guest on radio and television stations. Consult your
local listings for dates and times.
More in archives
On Costco.com, enter
“Connection.” At Online Edition,
search “David Horowitz.”
AUGUST 2010 ;e Costco Connection 13
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