How To Get The Best Out Of Your Doctor

by Dr Vernon Coleman and Donna Antoinette Coleman

1. Don't delay. If you have a problem which is worrying you make an appointment straight away - and make sure that you see your doctor as soon as possible. The longer you wait the more you'll worry and the worse things could get.

2. Be prepared for a physical examination. Would you be happy if a car mechanic tried to repair your car engine without lifting the bonnet? Dress in clothes you can get in and out of quickly. Stockings may be easier than tights. Zips are quicker than buttons. Don't wear underwear that is going to embarrass you.

3. Don't worry about shocking or embarrassing your doctor. There is nothing you can tell your doctor that will shock him/her. Every week thousands of women who have `trouble down below' walk in to the surgery, complain of a minor skin rash or a swollen vein and walk out without saying what is really on their minds.

4. Make up your mind beforehand what you want to tell your doctor. Write down a list of your important symptoms, complaints and worries. Women who have not yet gone through the menopause should take along details of their latest periods.

5. Don't be offended or startled by questions your doctor asks. If you have a discharge your doctor will want to know how long you've had it and what it looks like. If you have a gynaecological or urological problem, questions about your sex life are routine.

6. Decide beforehand what you want your doctor to do. And remember that it is part of your doctor's job to explain things to you. If you've seen a hospital doctor and haven't understood what he/she has said, ask your own family doctor to interpret the medical jargon for you.

7. Your doctor will write down what you tell him/her. It makes sense for you to write down everything that he/she tells you - particularly if he/she is giving you advice or instructions.

8. If at the end of the consultation you aren't happy then ask for a second opinion. If your own doctor refuses point blank to refer you for a second opinion then we suggest that you change doctors.

Copyright Vernon Coleman and Donna Antoinette Coleman 2005

Taken from Health Secrets Doctors Share With Their Families by Vernon Coleman & Donna Antoinette Coleman, published by the European Medical Journal at 12.99 and available from the bookshop on this website and from all good bookshops everywhere.

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2005