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Give your doctor a break and stop getting mad when you can’t find them

By Dr Alfred Murage | August 27th 2020

Over time, patients tend to develop a sort of personalized association with specific doctors. You commonly hear of ‘my GP’, ‘my gynecologist’, or ‘my-whatever specialist’. Consequently, there is an inevitable expectation that the doctor you already know should always see you whenever the need arises. But what happens when your regular doctor is unavailable? Your doctor is only human; they too need time off, they can get unwell, or they sometimes just don’t feel like working. In such cases, you will have to decide whether an alternate doctor will do, or choose to wait till your doctor returns.

You may have become too dependent on your regular doctor that seeing anybody else is unacceptable. Several factors immediately come into play. If an emergency has cropped up, you don’t really have a choice. You either see the next available doctor, or you drop dead. The choice is yours.

Non-emergency situations are a different matter. Anything that can be delayed without jeopardizing your ongoing health can wait for your doctor to return. There is never any rush in treating stuff that can wait, getting seen days or weeks later may not make any difference in the grand scheme of your health status. Do not put yourself at risk unnecessarily by being too rigid. Yes, your doctor is great, and one of a kind. But there are other good doctors too, that’s why everybody else is still alive.

Be flexible with seeking medical help. If you can’t find your doctor for a multitude of reasons, be open to seeing a different one.

Who knows, you might even find yourself decamping to a different healthcare approach. You may never appreciate that what ails you can be treated differently. You must resist the temptation of trying to personally contact your doctor when they are away. Don’t keep calling or emailing them. Your doctor needs quality time while away, just like you do.

It doesn’t help if you keep disrupting their peace, it’s their time to recuperate from the pressures of clinical commitments, and re-energize in order to serve you better once they return.But your doctor still has responsibilities to uphold your health even when they are physically absent. You should be notified when your doctor is away, and be offered alternatives for your ongoing care.

Shared responsibilities between you and your doctor mean that your health should never get compromised at any point, regardless of absences on your doctor’s part.

So give your doctor a break, and stop getting mad when you can’t find them. Be open to seeing other doctors. After all the best doctors work in teams, meaning that any member of their team works to similar standards, or better.

Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynecologist and Fertility Specialist [email protected]

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