Usually the medical advice you receive from your doctor is sufficient to answer any questions that you may have, but there are times when it is important to ask for a referral to another doctor. Your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health care, as well as that of your family may be at stake.
Referral to another doctor or specialist
The most likely reason for you to want to discuss your medical advice with another doctor is to be reassured that the advice you have received from your own doctor is timely and appropriate. When asked for a referral, your doctor will not hesitate to refer you to another doctor or even a specialist, particularly if there are indications that this would benefit you and your family. In fact, it may be in his or her best interest to do so.
Your doctor is retiring or moving
When your doctor is retiring, moving to another location or setting up another practice outside your area, rather than be without a doctor for any length of time, it is advisable to ask him or her to refer you to another doctor who will be able to take his or her place with respect to your ongoing medical care.
If there is a language barrier between you and your doctor that results in communication problems, you may ask your doctor to refer you to another doctor who you are able to communicate with more effectively in your own language. This would be a reasonable request from your doctor’s perspective, particularly if it involves elderly seniors.
Incompatible religious beliefs
Your religious beliefs are an important aspect of your spiritual health. If they are not compatible with the religious beliefs of your doctor, talking to him or her about your concern first and then asking to speak to another doctor may be appropriate.
Serious concern re your level of medical care
If you have serious concern about your current treatment or level of medical care and do not feel it is appropriate, discussing this with your doctor may help to remedy the problem. He or she will want you to receive the kind and level of care that you need. He or she may also have a very busy practice. Perhaps you want increased medical attention from him or her, or even house calls. While this may not always be feasible, he or she may refer you to another doctor who has more time and can make house calls for you and your family. You may also have concerns about alternative health care, for example the feasibility of visiting a chiropractor or another health care practitioner with respect to medical advice. Do not hesitate to discuss these concerns with your doctor or to ask for a referral.
Questions re medical competency
Questions of medical competency can arise in any medical practice. If you are unfamiliar with a new doctor who is still in training, or under treatment by a nurse practitioner acting on your doctor’s behalf, you may have competency questions. Your doctor will take your concerns them seriously and answer your questions. Do not hesitate to ask for a second opinion from another doctor, if indicated.
Your questions and concerns are important, but it is not advisable to run from doctor to doctor. Consistency is important in terms of your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health, as well as that of your family. To keep you healthy is in your doctor’s responsibility. Remember that he or she also has high ethical, moral, legal and medical standards to maintain. Mutual doctor-patient loyalty matters.