Friday, June 12, 2009

7 Common Mistakes Patients Make

In the same vein as David Letterman's Top Ten list, I am focusing this posting on 7 common mistakes patients make when dealing with the medical system. I chose 7 instead of 10 because a) 7 is a lucky number and b) I don't think I could think of 3 more!

7. Allowing their jackets of a variety of doctor hues -- taupe, gray, brown or white or any variation thereof -- to intimidate you.

6. Not asking questions.

5. Accepting doctors' explanations that are unacceptable.

4. Allowing doctors to determine your medical fate rather than taking ownership of it.

3. Allowing a doctor to rush through your appointment.

2. Not hiring and firing doctors as needed.

1. Being passive in your medical care.

Beth L. Gainer is a professional writer and has published an essay on her breast cancer experience in the anthology Voices of Breast Cancer by LaChance Publishing. She teaches writing and literature at Robert Morris University in the Chicago area. She can be contacted at and



  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog :). This site is GREAT! While I'm not "the patient," my 14 year old daughter has a number or neurological, developmental, endocrinological and orthopedic issues that require visits to specialists... so this site is very good for a PARENT too who is dealing with a child with medical needs! Thanks for such a wonderful resource! btw- have you read Kelly Corrigan's memoir The Middle Place about her experience w/ breast cancer?? i just finished it - VERY good :)

  2. Hi Dr. Mom,

    Thanks for stopping by my site as well, and thank you for the kind words!! I'm sure it is very difficult to navigate the medical system for your daughter, although hopefully you found great doctors.

    I have a friend who will be guest blogging on her parenting an autistic son. I'm sure she's come across some of the same issues you've had.

    I haven't read Kelly Corrigan's memoir yet, but I plan to. It sounds really interesting.

    Please feel free to visit me again. I try to post at least one Calling the Shots blog per week.

  3. Hey Beth. Another excellent post. Advocacy is so important.

    By the way, I love Alicia (aka Dr. Mom) and have blogged with her quite a bit. I'm so glad she stopped by your site. She'd be a great one to guest blog. She's from Jersey, by the way.