Problem: Your Doctor's Record Is Blemished
Disciplinary actions aren't always cause for alarm. A doctor can be disciplined for small offenses, such as refusing to provide a patient with medical records in a timely manner, and large ones, like negligence during surgery. You can look up a doctor's history of disciplinary actions at Castle Connelly's website (castleconnelly.com), which provides links to all 50 state medical boards. "To find out the specifics about his record, you may need to contact the board," says Candis Cohen, spokesperson for the Medical Board of California, in Sacramento. If you find that action has been taken, don't be shy about asking the doctor about it. If the record makes you uncomfortable, it's time to leave.
Problem: Your Doctor Has Trouble With Boundaries
Ask yourself if you trust the doctor and her competence. Let's say your new gynecologist suggests you get Botox. After you recover from the sting of the remark, "if you're impressed with a doctor's ability, try to overlook subtleties in personality," says Mehmet Oz, the vice chairman of surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, in New York City. If you want to continue under her care, you could let her know that you don't appreciate her comment, or you could just ignore it. If, on the other hand, this is a first visit and the abrasive comment has you reeling because you haven't yet established a trusting relationship, find another capable doctor. "You need to be treated by a doctor you trust and respect," says Rackner.