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MBBS, FRCS (Edin), FRCS (Glasgow), FRCS UROLOGY (Glasgow),
MBU Urology (Mal), AM (Mal)
Advanced Urological training (Bristol Urological Institute, U.K),
Certificate in Urodynamics (Bristol), Urology Board Certificate (Mal)


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10 Things Your Doctor Wishes You To Do

There are 10 things your doctor wishes you would do when you go for a consultation.

Some patients may not come in armed with a diagnosis of their illness. But after telling the doctor one or two symptoms, some may assume the doctor can make an diagnosis and assure them their problem will disappear with a pill or two. Even in emergency rooms, patients in pain assume the doctor on duty will administer medicines on the spot.

This however, is not how a medical consultation works. A detailed history and physical examination when indicated is the most important step in achieving a clinical diagnosis.

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out or a visit to your doctor:

  1. Report your symptoms, not your diagnosis.

A complete history of your complaint is the first foundation of effective patient management. In order to make a proper diagnosis, your doctor will examine your body for any tell-tale signs, eg, blisters, bleeding, lacerations, etc.

Your doctor also needs to hear from you what your symptoms are, eg, pain, tenderness, dizziness, fatigue, etc.

Mentioning a diagnosis to your doctor, even when made by another doctor, may promote bias. If you immediately tell the doctor a certain diagnosis, it may affect his/her better judgement – and you lose the opportunity of a second opinion.

Prepare yourself with a summary of all your current and previous medical problems.

Report a detailed history of your current problems, your current health situation, past history of all medical problems, family history of medical problems, your social habits (smoking, drinking, profession), all your current medications and if you suffer from any allergies.

A detailed history is very important for your doctor to determine your urological problem, and what is the best way to manage it. Your past problems and all investigations, even if it were done many years ago, will also prove to be very useful.

  1. Be honest with your doctor.

Every time doctors see patients, they automatically make a commitment of confidentiality. Inadequate or false information will negatively affect your doctor’s diagnosis.

  1. Bring someone who knows your problem.

Telling your physician the history of your problem is very important. But there are many occasions when a patient is not clear or unable to articulate well what he/she is feeling and what is happening.

In such cases, the patient should bring along someone who knows what is going on. A doctor cannot make a guess about a patient’s complaints.

  1. Bring your laboratory results, X-ray, CT scan, MRI films or CDs.

Results of prior screening and diagnostic tests, including those of a biopsy or surgery, must be with you during your visit. This is because your doctor needs to view your radiological tests, not just the written reports.

If your doctor sends you for any of these tests again, bring along the earlier films/CDs so that the doctor can compare them. Think of them as your before-and-after pictures.

  1. Keep a copy of your test results.

The reason for this is that you may be referred to another doctor, eg, when you move or change jobs or insurance coverage. Besides this, many patients now are managed by a team of doctors. It is more convenient for all parties if the patient always has copies of test results.

  1. Organise your test results well.

On many occasions, patients who are asked for their test result hand the doctor a folder containing all sorts of unimportant documents ( brochures, receipts from lab tests, prescriptions for medicine, etc ) – but no test results.

  1. Know the names, dosages and frequency of your medicines.

Many patients don’t know the names of the medicines they are taking. They will sometimes describe the tablet or capsule, of which there are thousands of similar ones in the market.

If you cannot remember everything bring the medicines in their packaging or bring the prescriptions written by others doctors.

  1. Don’t cover up too much or wear a lot of jewellery.

Some patients appear in long sleeves (which makes it hard to get their blood pressure), in turtlenecks (making it extremely difficult to examine the neck) or with lots of coins in their pockets that pour out when they lie down.

  1. Write down the questions you want to ask.

It can be scary being in a clinic. Patients are often overwhelmed by what doctors tell them.

It pays to write down the questions that are bothering you and to which you want clear answers. By asking these questions, you are not only getting answers, you are also giving your doctor a look into your state of mind and the opportunity to use his/her knowledge to help you physically, mentally and emotionally.

  1. Mention allergies and preferences.

Tell your doctor of any past allergic reactions or side effects from a particular medication. You should also state your preference, eg, medication in pill/tablet form rather than liquid; medication that does not cause drowsiness due to your nature of work, etc.