Things You Should Ask Your Doctor
This is the title of an article which appeared today in the Roanoke Times. You can read it here.
The article contains good suggestions like:
1. Ask your doctor which health and medicine websites he/she trusts?
2. What is this medication…what is it for…why are you prescribing it…what are the side effects…and does it interact with other medications I am taking?
3. If you are prescribing an opioid painkiller…is it necessary and are there other ways to reduce my pain?
While all of these questions (and the others contained in the article which I did not mention) are good, I urge you to add the following questions to your list when facing a recommendation for surgery:
4. If you are recommending surgery…are there more conservative treatment options I should try first?
5. If you are recommending surgery and there are no conservative options available…how frequently do you perform this surgery…what is the recovery period… and what is your success rate (not the success rate for all doctors who perform the surgery) with the surgery?
6. If surgery is recommended…does the hospital where the surgery is to be performed have the capability to handle all complications which might result from the surgery?
7. If surgery is recommended…will you be the “hands on” surgeon or will you be watching a trainee doctor (whom I do not know) practice and learn the surgical technique on me?
8. If surgery is recommended and anesthesia will be utilized…will I be attended to by an anesthesiologist (who is a trained doctor) or will my anesthesia be administered at the direction of a nurse anesthetist?
9. If surgery is recommended…are you aware I am taking anti-coagulation drugs which make my blood thinner and more prone to excessive bleeding…will you check my INR levels before surgery so that you know the extent my blood is anti-coagulated?
10. If surgery is recommended…will you personally review all of my radiological images (x-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, CT angiography, etc.) or will you just rely upon interpretations of those images by other doctors?
And if your doctor will not answer these questions….FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR!