published Saturday, July 7th, 2012

ConsumerWatch: How to break up with your doctor

by Ellen Phillips

I decided to write another doctor column this week because on the heels of last week's column, I thought it a sound idea to cover what to do if you don't like this physician and how to break up with him or her. Maybe he's not providing you with the best care or simply doesn't seem to be giving her full attention. This is certainly a difficult position in which to find oneself, especially if the relationship is a long-standing one. So what does it take to "fire" your doc? According to, it's time to move on when:

• He or she doesn't return your calls promptly and/or doesn't answer your questions in a satisfactory fashion.

• This person doesn't seem to really give a rat's patootie about you (i.e. not listening to you, frequent interruptions, dismisses your complaints, and so forth).

• You feel he's not trustworthy or you can't really be honest and truthful.

• You're unable to get an appointment on time and, especially, in an emergency situation that doesn't necessarily call for an ER visit.

• Your provider is the recipient of a disciplinary action from the state(s) in which she practices.

Before you tell Doctor Dumfuzzle to hit the road, be certain you've a copy of all medical records. These include tests and reports, notes, X-rays, biopsies, diagnoses, and anything else that's relevant for any and all conditions for which you've been treated. And because your mother raised a polite child, send a brief letter explaining that you're changing physicians. (You don't have to say why; burning bridges is never a good idea ...)

Ellen Phillips is a retired English teacher who has written two consumer-oriented books. Her Consumer Watch column appears every Saturday. Email her at consumer watch@timesfree

about Ellen Phillips...

Ellen Phillips is a retired English teacher who has written two consumer-oriented books. Her Consumer Watch column appears on Saturdays in the Business section of the paper. An expanded version is at under Local Business.

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