7 Bad Habits of Medical Professionals

mistakes doctors makeExpecting a doctor or other medical professional to be 100% perfect is unreasonable. After all, we learned in elementary school that nobody’s perfect and that’s okay. Unfortunately, some of the people we trust with our health are seriously pushing the line. Keep an eye out for these seven deadly habits that bad doctors should be held accountable for.

1. Writing prescriptions far too often.

Doctor visits don’t tend to last longer than 20 minutes – most are 17, tops. At the end of far too many physician visits is a scribbled prescription for a supposed cure to your ailment, whether it’s sleeping pills or something stronger. However, doctors should advise patients to take the healthiest route possible, and many times this doesn’t include meds. If you really think you need medication, at least ask the doc why he chose the specific prescription and what its pros and cons are. If he only vaguely answers your questions, get a second opinion.

2. Not getting enough sleep.

Unlike truck drivers and pilots, doctors aren’t required to get shut eye between shifts, even the 24-hour-long ones. Sleep-deprived surgeons are the scariest bunch, since they’re at a high risk for encountering complications in the operating room. The solution? Schedule early morning doctor appointments and don’t hesitate to ask that your surgeon not to operate on you during one of their super long shifts.

3. Giving poor treatment because of personal biases.

Just because it shouldn’t happen doesn’t mean it never happens. Medical “professionals” sometimes give poor treatment to women or overweight patients because they’re viewed as exaggerating their symptoms or being unattractive. If you feel like you’re being brushed off, change doctors. You may even want to consider finding a doctor of your own gender so they can truly relate to whatever it is you’re going through.

4. Flirting with patients.

It’s creepy to think about, but some doctors use their position of power to take advantage of patients. Whether it’s flirting or something more serious, it’s entirely inappropriate. It’s a well known standard that relationships between doctors and patients are a huge “no-no.” Aside from blurring the line between work and play, doctors who have romantic relationships with patients aren’t objectively treating them.

5. Lying to patients when the truth is hard to say.

It’s scary to think of, but up to half of U.S. doctors have been dishonest with a patient when a diagnosis is serious. Sugarcoating the truth prevents the patient from taking the steps necessary to get better. The worst case scenario is when a doctor makes a mistake and doesn’t tell a patient the whole truth in an effort to save face. The best defense against this is to keep a record of everything you’re experiencing health-wise and getting a second – and even third – opinion. Also, don’t let doctors confuse you with medical speak. Any quality doctor will be willing to thoroughly explain your health to you in language you can understand.

6. Staying stagnant in an advancing medical field.

Older doctors are viewed as being practiced experts, but far too many are resistant to keeping up with technology, new diagnostics and improved standards of care. Doctors who are in the middle of their career often have the best of both worlds.

7. Breaching your privacy.

It’s normal for doctors to do a bit of research online to confirm their diagnosis and treatment. Anything beyond than that that has to do with your personal life is unethical, though. Not only is it an invasion of privacy, but knowing too much about a patient can wrongly influence a diagnosis. While you can’t ensure your doctor isn’t checking your social media accounts, you can change your privacy settings to protect yourself as best as possible.

Kevin Dillon is a professional blogger who enjoys dicussing the law. He writes for Obradovich Law, a leading personal injury lawyer in Toronto.

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