The 10 Worst Things Patients Can Say to Physicians

JUNE 16, 2016
Ryan Gray, MD

6. Anything that involves asking for a “favor” that will get you in trouble
Maybe the patient’s mom wants you to take a “quick look” at the sibling who doesn’t have an appointment (or insurance), you know, under the radar. Or, maybe the patient wants you to tell their employer that they need more time off when they actually are able to return to work. Patients need to realize that doctors are not above the laws of the land—or the laws of insurance—and stop asking for special treatment.
7. Anything that starts with, “Well, I read this article on the Internet and I think I have …”
Don’t get me wrong—it is never a bad thing when a patient takes an interest in his or her care and wants to learn more about a medical condition by reading articles online. However, self-diagnosing without first talking to a medical professional is a slippery slope that can cause patients unwarranted anxiety, and can sometimes lead to disastrous consequences from self-treating conditions that may or may not exist.
8. Anything that is overly demanding
As I said before, doctors are patients’ partners in health care. They are not servants. Constantly demanding treatments, tests, medications, and referrals makes it very hard for a doctor to actually have the time to get to the root of a patient’s medical issues.
9. Any type of incessant questioning
Doctors quickly become wary of patients who show up with a list of 30+ questions about their medical condition(s). Of course, it is normal for a patient to be curious about his or her condition and care plan, but questioning the doctor’s every move can cause the doctor to steer clear whenever possible.
10. Dropping a bomb … at the end of the appointment
A good way to really annoy a doctor is to wait until the end of the appointment to raise a MAJOR concern – the so-called “doorknob question.” Patients should always bring up their most pressing concerns first to ensure that they receive adequate time and attention. 

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