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When the doc doesn't want to see you

 When the doc doesn’t want to see you (Photo: iStock)

Whenever you have reason to see a doctor, it’s likely that you just don’t see any by chance, unless it’s an emergency. You most likely go through a filtering process, with a checklist to enable you to decide on the most preferable doctor to consult. Once your selection is done, you almost take it for granted that the doctor you have chosen will be all too willing to see you.

Sometimes that isn’t the case. Many people never realize that doctors also have their own checklist about who they prefer to see, and who they would rather not. It’s called cherry-picking in healthcare.

The analogy is if you are picking cherries, you go for the juiciest and most easy to reach. Your interest is not to climb higher up the tree for the hardest-to-reach cherries. That expends too much effort and energy. Cherry-picking isn’t healthcare, but your doctor can come up with all sorts of reasons for declining your custom.

You will get filtered out if you are considered too much of an effort. You might be unlucky to have multiple health problems that all require some attention. Your consultation time thus goes beyond reasonable limits.

It takes too long to complete a physical examination, in addition to getting a multitude of tests done. Doesn’t all end there, you end up needing complex interventions and follow-up, which may not all be too smooth.

Your selected doctor may sometimes find all this overwhelming and may prefer you get seen elsewhere. Other factors may also get you filtered out. Don’t be disrespectful to the doctor and other staff members, this is an easier path to getting blacklisted.

Arrive for your appointments in time. Get straight to the point about your symptoms, going around in circles wastes time for everyone, yourself included. And pay your bills promptly, doctors hate seeking services from debt collectors.

Physicians have the right not to see you unless it’s an emergency. If a physician doesn’t want to see you, they aren’t obliged to give you an explanation. May sound unfair and discriminative, but happens more often than you think. If filtered out, no harm in trying to find out why.

Sometimes it may be that the doctor is over-stretched, and can’t be bothered to take in more patients. In such cases, you are at least owed a suggestion on where else you could get similar services.

If your carefully selected and preferred doctor declines to see you, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t force yourself onto them. Look elsewhere, you may be surprised to find an alternate doctor who is as good, or even better.

Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynecologist and Fertility Specialist.

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