18514 N. Dale Mabry Highway - Lutz, FL 33548 - Telephone: 813-968-9411 - Fax: 813-963-2407


Dr. Mike Radice

Question Your Doctor

Why not?  It’s your health you’re discussing.  Too often, I’ve heard patients describe their encounters with doctors (of all types – even DC’s) as “a little rushed” or “being talked down to” or “dismissed and treated as if I didn’t know what I was talking about.”   That’s the point, doc; INFORM ME! Put yourself in my shoes if only for a minute and help me get my head around what’s going on so I can make good healthcare decisions.

When it comes to doctor’s appointments, there are certain things to consider and some to avoid.  Is this a routine or annual exam or is it for something more directed or problem-based?  Routine appointments and exams typically don’t require you do a lot of preparation (unless it’s too fast, or to follow preparations for a diagnostic procedure per the doctor’s instructions).  Appointments where the doctor will be working toward a diagnosis can be much more efficient and effective with a little preparation by the patient.  Have a good timeline of the history of the current complaint – did it start a couple of weeks ago or a couple of months?  Is it more on the left or the right/earlier in the day or later in the day/before you eat or after/localized to one spot or does it travel?  Having a good grasp of details like this ahead of time helps the doctor get the clearest picture possible of what’s going on so he can make the best use of his or her expertise in diagnosing the problem and mapping out a good course of treatment.

I’m a big fan of having patients write down pertinent information or follow up questions from a prior appointment.   This practice helps keep the appointment and exchange of information as efficient as possible.  It can also help eliminate those instances when you “forgot to ask something” and now have to contact the office, wait for a return call and therefore delay the process further.  Also, when applicable, bringing a family member or friend as a “second set of ears and eyes” is an excellent idea.  As a patient, we can be under great stress which can have a negative effect on our recall (think oncologist vs. dentist).  Having someone else’s perspective, even if it’s concerning the doctor’s tone or inference, can be invaluable.

There are two sources of health information that should be looked at with some caution.  First are the health information websites (WebMD and the like) which typically provide good general information regarding bigger concepts, but should stop short of using the information provided to actually self-diagnose.  Even the websites themselves warn against this.  These sites provide a good background and generalities and should act as a “jumping off point” for further discussion with your physician.  They will be able to clarify and add case specifics for your individual case.  The second source of information is what I like to categorize as “Uncle Henry”.  Everybody has a family member, neighbor, co-worker or similar who has an “Uncle Henry” with the same back pain/rash/ringing in the ears/vertigo/ingrown toe nail/cough as you and somehow with Uncle Henry, it’s always cancer/flesh-eating disease/asbestos disease/rickets or some other devastating condition.  Our friends forget to mention that Uncle Henry is a 425 pound, chain-smoking, competitive eater  who also has worked in a coal mine for 35 years, but he too had a persistent cough just like yours.  That’s why we gather good information and confirm things with our physicians – to not drive ourselves crazy with incomplete or inappropriate information.

Simply put, good information leads to good decisions.  With the help of your physicians, make sure your healthcare decisions “pass the logic test” so you can deal correctly and confidently with whatever brought you to the office in the first place.  You and your physicians create a team, communicate with your team for the best possible outcome.

18514 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Lutz, FL 33548
Tel: 813.968.9411  |  Fax: 813.963.2407

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