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Blog Katie Allen August 2023

 In Blog Katie Allen

Blog Katie Allen August 2023

Katie Allen (Canada) shares her personal experiences

One tense moment for anyone with multiple doctors and specialists is when they disagree or need different things. One moment I recently went through was a change in regulation regarding referrals, where my specialist was now required to get a referral more often than my family doctor thought necessary. It led to tense appointments with both professionals who didn’t see why the government regulation changed and both had different plans for moving forward. There was one critical treatment that nearly didn’t happen because of this disagreement, at this point, I felt my frustrations and the risks needed to be addressed. In the end, this problem was resolved rather quickly, however, many situations have not had such amicable solutions.

In some cases, however, it isn’t as easy as pointing to new rules online and having everyone agree, and these are some of the tensest moments of my medical experience. Every situation will be different and require unique approaches or help, but here are my best tips.

The first tip is, honestly, sometimes the hardest, especially when your choice of doctors is limited, but if reconciliation between a trusted medical professional and another doctor is not possible, finding a new doctor may be the only solution. This happened to me with a hematologist in my teens, the reality became clear that no matter how much I talked, he wasn’t listening and firmly believed, because he had not heard of my condition, it didn’t exist. Eventually, I had my GP refer me to another doctor. We didn’t have another hematologist available, but an internist with hematology experience, agreed to treat me, and it was a much smoother experience that solved my problems.

The next is to open up communication in a way the doctor will respond. Sometimes, frustratingly, this means getting them in contact directly with another medical professional you trust, or the professional they are disagreeing with. Once the two can talk together it is amazing what can be achieved. Sometimes, having myself in the middle has led to more problems. It’s unfortunately true, but some professionals just won’t believe what you say is coming from another professional until they hear it for themselves from said professional. This is made much easier if the medical professionals are willing to work in a team environment.

My last big tip is to involve a Patient Advocate or another trusted third party. Sometimes, just having another person in the room to direct the flow of conversation can aid in opening up the discussion about where the medical professional differs in opinion from another. However, some doctors will be defensive about having another person in the room, so you will have to judge personalities and see if this works with members of your team.

Overall, the best option is always communication. Talk with all parties involved and get their full opinions and if possible, collaborate and meet together. Being frank about concerns, in my experience, achieves more results than trying to avoid them.

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