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Worst Ways To Handle Conflict

Readers Respond: For Dealing with Arrogant and Egotistical Doctors

Responses: 57

By

Updated May 16, 2011

Sometimes we have no choice but to learn to deal with doctors who come across as arrogant or superior. Yet, we patients must still be able to ask the questions we need to ask, and get the answers we need, despite the unpleasant personality of Dr. Arrogant. Here are some stories and suggestions from empowered patients.

Dangerous to health

I've had a surgeon blame me, it was all in my head, etc. because he was so egotistical that he couldn't see other diagnoses. It turned out I had multiple issues. Then when he got called on it and a potential privacy violation, he dropped me. That's illegal. Then dropped my care and proceeded to interfere with my care.
—Guest bariatrichelp

Bad doctor who thinks she's the greatest

We have a horrible doctor in our small rural town who thinks she's the greatest, most popular, highly educated doctor in our little town clinic. In reality, she's about the only one you can get a same-minute appointment with because she's always available, unpopular, no one ever seeks her for medical advice, and so she always has open appointments, but I never accept her. She doesn't listen, she dismisses you, she's arrogant and rude. I refuse to go to doctors like that. I pay a lot of money, even with insurance, to see a doctor, and I expect respect and excellent care. I expect to have a reasonable amount of time spent on me and I expect to be listened to. Don't pay to see crappy doctors and it will make a statement. (I also called the administrator of the medical clinic and complained about herspecific behavior I found objectionable.)
—Guest Sherri

Dr. D

Wow! This article sounded like it was written about my former gastroenterologist, Dr. D. He was my doctor for 8 years and was there for me when I was diagnosed with gastroparesis. However, just a day before I was due to have a procedure to see if I had Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction, he decided to discharge me from his practice. Why? We didn't know. We didn't know until we got back to town and saw our family doc who told us that he believed that I was diverting the pain pills he was prescribing to me, to my parents. Well, because of something he only believed I was unable to get a replacement GE for a total of 6mths. I have just been accepted by one under the condition that I never ask for pain meds and for that reason I am not as happy about being accepted as a patient by a GE as I thought I would.
—Guest AKH

Was it me or the doctor?

I saw a doctor today. He was a fantastic doctor and his staff was wonderful, but I felt like a total loser – an imbecile, totally inferior, and maybe even like I was possibly a marginal person. My self-esteem has really taken a hit lately and I didn’t think I could feel any worse, but I actually did feel much more defeated when leaving than I had felt upon arriving. Usually I have a good rapport with doctors, but with this particular doctor I couldn’t say anything right. I felt like I was back in grade school again, being the dumbest kid in the class who couldn’t read because I had dyslexia. (Which now I understand is considered to be a lot more of a plus than originally had been ascertained.) I was even filled with doubts about being a woman or the fact that I’d put on the form I filled out when I first entered the office that I'm of mixed racial background. He took excellent care of my physical problem, but he seemed unusually hostile and arrogant towards me.
—2much2do56

Sigh.

I am a young doc and recently I had a disastrous experience with a specialist. He judged me in the first few minutes based on the origin of my name and my (mostly very old) mental health history. He was condescending and cut me off often, then had the nerve to suggest I come back for "reassurance." I was baffled by his diagnosis and called back a few days later with a carefully worded question that would have allowed him an easy out. Instead he became angry, insulting and accusatory. I later got copies of his notes (always do this) and much of it was simply untrue, but now it's he said/she said. I have learned the hard way to take someone with me to anything other than a routine maintenance visit.
—Aubergine_

Crappy Endo

I was patient to an endocrinologist in Longmont, Colorado who prescribed meds for high cholestoral. I also have MS for which my neuro prescribes shots. When tests indicated my liver enzymes were elevated, both meds could have been the reason. When I tried to discuss this with the endo, he was very rude and insisted HIS med was not the problem! Turns out he was right, but I don't need the attitude. If any doctor can't have the courtesy to (1) be on time, (2) take proper time with you as a patient, and (3)treat you with respect,then they should be fired. I once had a chiropractor who was always more than 30 minutes late. When I complained, he suggested I call his office on my appointment day to see how late he was running, then I could come in later and not wait! Why should I have to call HIM when I already have an appointment?
—Guest Kono

Fired

My would-be surgeon fired me because I asked too many questions and the staff didn't like my tone of voice. Let's see how non-questioning and calmly you speak when you've been diagnosed with an ovarian cyst, possibly cancer, and need surgery.
—Guest Kay

Don't we pay them?

Doctors don't like to admit it -- but they're in business. You pay them and they work for you. At the end of the day, if they are arrogant and rude you should tell them that you, as a customer, do not appreciate their behavior and they will need to correct it for business to continue. If they wont -- don't do business with them. I've taken this approach with doctors and executives and they respect that strength to professionally confront another equal human being. They're not gods -- just people with fancy papers.
—Guest Tim

Little old lady .... ?

Some 30 years ago I had my first encounter with an arrogant doc. Let me start by saying I am a 65 year old man, so I would have been about 35 at the time. I had written down some questions to ask my doctor after my routine annual check-up. When he was discussing my lab reports, and the results of his examination I pulled a few file cards from my pocket with questions on them. He asked, what is that? I replied, questions I want to ask you when you're finished here. He responded, Just like a "little old lady" with a list of questions, and laughed. I got a new internist as soon as possible.
—Guest Branch

ARROGANCE

I SIMPLY DECLINE THEIR SUGGESSTIONS AND MOVE ON,RESPECTFULLY.MANORS ARE VERY MUCH NEEDED IN ALL CUMMUNIATIONS.BEING TALKED AT IS NOT ''WITH''.I FIND A DR WHO WANTS TO''DICTATE''TREATMENT IS OFTEN NOT AWARE OF ALL THE FACTS.MOVING ON IN OUR OWN BEST INTEREST IS BEST.
—Guest SAM

God Complex

My surgeon/oncologist is only comfortable when he is dishing out information and instructions. Questions irritate him, even if they are quite rational and warranted. Communication is one-way only. He manages to be at least somewhat civil if there are witnesses, but in my one visit alone with him, he was defensive, obnoxious, dismissive and actually became quite angry that I would question anything that he said, even though his statement conflicted completely with information I was given by a second oncologist in his own practice group. I don't know what his problem is, and frankly I don't care. My issue is my health, not his personality. Time for another doctor.
—Guest VB

Absolutely

Almost all (not all) doctors are all arrogant, even the friendly ones. Their ignorance and unwillingness to question their preliminary conclusion will literally kill you if you let them. Literally kill you. They make a quick judgement on you, then go from there. Trying to talk them out of their judgement makes them defensive. I've had MULTIPLE doctors tell me things about medicines they were prescribing that I absolutely knew to be incorrect, because it is written right there in the pharmacological information packet (or the internet). These doctors will never say, "I don't know, let me go research this". Instead, they act like they always have the answer, even if they don't. Question them and they hate you. Play along and submit and they will literally kill you. I could cite specific examples of harm that has been done to me by arrogant doctors.
—Guest amen

Arrogant Doctor

My sister is dealing with an extremely arrogant female neurologist. This doctor talks over the patient, not listening to her problems. This situation has made my sister more ill. It is a terrible thing, I'm filing complaints against for her bullying and demands.
—Guest Frances

good surgeon ?

I visited my surgeon, a follow-up. When he walked into the room, asked "how are you?", my response, "fine". He turned, looked at me and asked, "are you sure, when is the last time you had a mamogram?" I was totally surprised, this is the Doctor who less than a year ago, removed Both of my Breasts because of Recurrent Breast Cancer. Was that "reminder" no where in his notes ? A red flag should have went up, when we were discussing my Mastectomies, and while I was telling him about past chemo. treatments, he had to turn his head away from me, to laugh. That should have been my last visit, but I foolishly let him do the surgeries. He asked me about Breast-reconstruction, but I had decided against it. I wonder if that is the reason for his arrogance. I do know he will not ask again about my mamogram. I't time for a new doctor.
—Guest starlight.40

Pat Morgan

I have been used and abused by arrogant cardiologists at a hospital here. I am intelligent, elderly and have worked in Medicine most of my life so these guys ran into someone who knows when they are being used and abused. I spent an extra three days in the hospital and never saw a doctor until I went home and he handed me a paper and left. I have a potassium problem and when its low I have an irregular heart beat thats what I was in the hospital for, they did not want to hear about potassium and did not give me any in 5 days in the hospital. They tried to cardiovert my heart when I was at my potassium lowest. I felt frankly like a mental rape victim, attitude and lack of care caused a depression and I have been irregular for 2 years now and frankly this new doctor again a cardiologist seems bright enough but has no intention of treating someone my age like they have researched thier own illness and know a few things that might help.
—Guest Pat Morgan

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