A man choosing from a group of different doctors

Transitioning Doctors

When we discuss our experiences with doctors, the conversation can go through a level of peaks - it's something. Some have had interesting experiences mixed with good and bad, or a whole toss-up of not the best experiences. I think I can speak for my mom. Her cancer doctor was not the most pleasant, and I know she was not the only one that had unfortunate experiences with doctors. Let’s delve into what I'd consider when positions of authority are questioned when coping with lung cancer and considering a transition to a different lung cancer doctor.

The conversation: "I want a different lung cancer doctor"

Choosing to leave a doctor is one for most that takes courage and action, and the reasons for a change can be a variety. You may have experienced poor management, lack of empathy, and poor follow-up, which can range in the reasons for a change.

The question is, do you feel the need to tell a doctor that you’re seeking new consultation? Well, some feel the need to do so because it’s a courtesy issue. However, if you feel they did not bring their best game in securing you as a patient, does it really matter? Do what you have to do…

What are the options?

Sometimes, patients stay with their doctors because of that old adage, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.” Oftentimes, people don’t want to rock the boat when coping with cancer and the trials of following instructions for life-changing routines.

Many people allow their doctor the full range with little fanfare of opposing or asking questions. The twitch in your gut of seeking someone else shouldn’t be handled lightly; I always say follow your gut.

You've made the decision - now what?

So now what? You’ve made the decision to jump ship. Who and how do you go about seeking another opinion and or doctor in general?

First, based on your insurance (private, Medicare, or public), start asking questions if there are services within your plan and network that can help direct you towards seeking that other opinion. If that doesn’t seem feasible, there are a few organizations that may be able to assist in leading you with the best guidance, such as:

American Lung Association

Lung Cancer Research Foundation

If all else fails, reach out to your facility to see if they have special resources and services that can further guide you or put you in touch with a social worker to review your case in seeking other care.

Next steps: Transferring records

Well, no matter how you proceed in changing doctors, there is baggage that needs to be addressed, such as making sure your records are transferred over. The process of records is something that can be worked out with the office manager and not directly with the doctor. There may be a conversation or a letter needed to confirm that you requested this transfer of the medical files to take place, but again it depends. Before taking steps in transitioning doctors and taking official leaps in doing so, It may also help to consider the following:

  • Check that the new doctor is taking on new patients.
  • Check if the doctor is within your insurance group.
  • Check what hospital the doctor is affiliated with.
  • Check whether the doctor is a Thoracic Oncologist and whether they are certified.

 The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile….when you feel like it

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