The right to choose which medical professionals with whom to consult is just that… a human right. It’s not a privilege; it is a basic right. This is even set by law:
Each individual has the right to freely choose from among different treatment procedures and providers on the basis of adequate information. The patient has the right to decide which diagnostic exams and therapies to undergo, and which primary care doctor, specialist or hospital to use. – European Charter of Patient Rights
That said, how exactly does one go about selecting a gynecologist to accompany you through the treatment of uterine fibroids? And how do you talk to medical professionals in order to be heard?
Friends, relatives, fellow members of internet forums and even the woman next in line at the supermarket can all be resources when searching for and checking out a new doctor. Is the physician knowledgeable, specifically in the field of symptoms and causes of uterine fibroids? It is also vital to connect with professionals who make sure to remain updated in the field, as treatment development is constantly advancing, continuously offering less invasive options.
Bedside manner is also critical. While it may not (or may!) be the highest item on your priority list, patients’ psychological needs are not trivial. Not only does each of us desire and deserve to be respected, good bedside manner actually improves patient outcomes, meaning we’re generally healthier when satisfied with our doctors.
When going for a once-off consultation, traveling a far distance may well be manageable. However, there are women who, due to treatment and symptom management, find themselves requiring more regular appointments. At this point, being able to easily and conveniently reach the gynecologist’s clinic does become an important element in the choice of professional.
In the past year, more doctors have launched the option of online appointments. While potentially a big relief, saving travel time, lost work and perhaps child care expenses, most gynecologists find it vital to periodically examine their patients in person. So while it’s a big plus, online appointments should still be with a doctor who is physically reachable.
Doctors cannot practice at any hospital they wish. Each doctor is attached to one or two hospitals in which he or she can accept patients, order advanced tests and perform surgery if necessary. If any of these items may be on the horizon, make sure you’ll be dealing with a hospital in which you feel comfortable.
While the main role of a doctor is to do their best to maintain and improve the health of all their patients, the underlying philosophies and priorities of each doctor legitimately vary with this framework. When choosing a course treatment of fibroids, a few issues come into play. Are you concerned about fertility or not? The answer to this question has a huge influence on which treatments you may or may not be willing to consider. Are you okay with pharmaceuticals? Whatever the answers may be, finding a doctor with whom you feel you are working with rather than against will alleviate potentially enormous frustration.
What about getting a second opinion?
None of us are computers, and therefore, the diagnosis and treatment processes are neither automated nor guaranteed foolproof. Even with both parties’ research, hard work and investment, sometimes seeking a second opinion is necessary. Reasons for doing so include increasing your own security in the diagnosis and best route of treatment, learning about a wider variety of treatment options, or having another expert pair of eyes take a fresh look at your history and current situation.
For these reasons and more, it is entirely legitimate to consult another doctor before finalizing a treatment plan. Professionals involved will not, or at least should not be offended in any way. After all, at the end of the day, the one who will be most affected by — and need to live with — the results of any decisions taken, is you.
Go get the diagnosis and treatment that you need and deserve!