How to Get a Doctor to Listen

"How do you get a doctor to listen to you?" This is the ultimate question. The answer is so rare and secretive, that is it priceless. There is just one secret statement that will make a doctor listen and that statement is....

Well. It's more complicated than that. It's hard to believe but doctors are real people. And like the general population, their personalities differ. You're going to get along with some and you will not with others. Some people are introverts and others are extroverts. We all have our good and bad days. Doctors are like teachers: You loved some and hated some, some loved you and others didn't. And it was for many different reasons. Some saw your potential, and others passed you off as nothing special. And it doesn't mean much at times. For example, Teachers said John Lennon would go nowhere. It's the same basic idea with doctors.

First, we have to realise that some people are better at listening than others. This and other parts of their personality will play a part in your care- and it's not always a bad thing. Some have a lot of patience and are very thorough. Like people in our lives, we will become friends with some and will barely tolerate others. We will not always get through to another person- even if its that person's job to listen.

But even with a doctor you've had for years, there are times they just don't listen to a new symptom or pain intensity. This is very frustrating as well. In this case, I have a few strategies to get them to pay attention.

1.) Keep a Journal. Write your pain scale for the day and a small note of the symptom or side effect you would like to draw attention to. Don't write too many details- just the core problem. Too many details or long sentences may intimidate.

2.) Be Specific. I know, this seems to be obvious. And I've been at the point where I wanted to scream "DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT I'M IN PAIN?!" And if you ever do so, please let me know so I can congratulate you on doing what I've wanted to for years. Anyway, what I mean is let the doctor know the pain (or whatever it may be), the intensity, when I happens and for how long, how it affects your life, and what you have been doing to help it. Stick to exactly the problem and direct details. More can come later, but it's easier to focus on a few details at first when trying to figure out a problem.

3.) Persuvere. If they brush you off, bring it up again. If they interrupt you, interrupt them. If they say its nothing, say 'no, it's my body.' If they tell you it's all in your head, tell them they're mental. Do what you must to get the message across, but always remember to be respectful (even if the doctor isn't- your bit of respect may rub off), and try to stay as calm as possible.

It's not easy, and sometimes nothing you do will make them listen. But sometimes it's worth a try.


  1. Awesome tips, Elizabeth. I'll keep them in mind. I'm not sure I've ever had a doctor take me seriously. The first several doctors told me it was growing pains (I'm almost 19!), the ones in the middle blamed it on the climate, and the last two said I'm depressed and need to consult a therapist. Argh. Sorry, lol, I'm feeling rather frustrated :p

    1. Thanks! :)
      Sorry to hear about it, but I know what you mean. The last one who said I was depressed and needed a therapist got fired. By recommendation of the therapist. Haha. :)


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