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Things No Patient Ever Wants to Hear

Medical experts reveal six things patients don't want to hear. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

While getting your annual checkups and seeing your doctor regularly is important to help prevent health issues, it can also be a hassle. Between trying to find a good doctor in network to dealing with insurance, it's not always a pleasant experience. To top it off, you may get the run around or news you don't want to hear. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with medical experts who reveal things no patient wants to hear and why. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


The Doctor Can't Do the Procedure Due to Supply Shortage

doctor mature patient checkup

Dr. Suzanna Wong, a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic and health expert with Twin Waves Wellness shares, "Doctors are lacking supplies due to some issues with the war in Ukraine. Many of our products that we use are manufactured all over the world, and the war is stopping them from being shipped in as timely a fashion as normal. We are trying to work around the issue – using alternatives where we can, but unfortunately it has led to some delays in treatment. Anything from massage oils to medicines are being held up – the supplies are there, it's the delivery that is the issue. Whilst some supplies are able to be sourced closer to home everyone is doing the same, and unfortunately, that means some hold ups. It will get better, but for now we are doing the best that we can. The three biggest issues for me currently are:

– post-surgery spinal treatment

– back manipulations

– lumbar herniated disc procedures

This is all chiropractic procedures, but I'm aware of colleagues having issues with general surgeries, as well as medication supplies as well." 


Cutting Out Certain Foods and Exercising More


Dana Ellis Hunnes PhD, MPH, RD is a senior dietitian at UCLA medical center, assistant professor at UCLA Fielding school of public health, and author with Cambridge university Press, of the new book, RECIPE FOR SURVIVAL reveals, "I don't think patients like to hear that they need to cut things out of their life, or need to exercise more. So I like to reframe it to add more healthy foods and beverages to your meals like whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, water, tea and crowd out the less healthy stuff. In addition, I tell people to move at every opportunity you can or schedule [a workout] with someone so you'll be more likely to keep yourself accountable." 


The Person Who Has Your Test Results Is At Lunch

doctor and patient having a somber conversation

Dr. Mariette Amadi, MD, Associate Chair of Medicine at Staten Island University Hospital says, "Patients do not want to hear 'your nurse is on break' while waiting for diagnosis, results, or treatment. Also referring to results, patients never want to hear 'I don't know your results, it's my first day back to work.'It's understandable that they are anxious to know their results." 


The Doctor Needs to Reschedule

woman consulting with her female doctor

Chaye McIntosh, Clinical Director, ChoicePoint says, "Even though doctors are humans with families and needs of their own, a patient who is looking forward to an appointment with their doctor does not want to 'reschedule.' Mainly because patients do not think of doctors as beings with needs but rather as angels with magic in their hands. For patients, rescheduling means rescheduling their own routine and trying to fit in with the doctor's time." 


There is Nothing We Can Do For You

couple listening to doctor in his office

Dr. Nima Majlesi, ED physician at Staten Island University Hospital shares, "Generally, this statement isn't true. There is always something we can do for patients. It might be a simple referral, it might be helping to solve social issues, or even providing some resources. I try to avoid telling patients there is nothing we have to offer." 


I Don't Have The Answer

woman consulting with female doctor

Dr. Majlesi says, "Patients think that our job as physicians is to always have an answer. The reality is, that we don't always have the answers. Sometimes, even after doing multiple tests we still may not know what the diagnosis is. Occasionally, a patient may have a rare condition that requires an evaluation by multiple specialists prior to getting a diagnosis. Oftentimes, our job is to make sure that whatever symptoms a patient has is not an emergency. Or a specialist may say that the symptoms are not related to their specific area of expertise. A patient needs to be their own advocate at these times to eventually find the right clinician who can make their diagnosis. But as a physician who feels very comfortable saying 'I don't know,' I try to reassure patients that I will hopefully send them to someone or suggest someone who might be able to figure it out."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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