Doctors can 'fire' patients - FOX 35 News Orlando

FOX Medical Team

Doctors can 'fire' patients

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"You're fired!" Those are two words you never want to hear from anyone, especially your own doctor. But that can happen when patients and physicians don't see eye-to-eye.

FOX 5's Beth Galvin talked a lot about patients who decide they need to leave their doctor and find a new one, but it goes both ways, as Angelika Taylor learned when she says her pediatrician wanted to break up with her.
When Angelika Taylor gave birth to her third child, Jack, a few months ago, she started having questions about whether he ready needed all the vaccinations newborns -and young children receive.

She says it wasn't that she didn't believe in them, she does.

"But I don't believe in poking the kid five times, and how are all those medicines really going to work pumped into one tiny body like that," Taylor said.

So Angelika told Jack's pediatrician that she and her husband wanted more say in what vaccines Jack received and that they wanted to create their own vaccine schedule, the doctor balked.
"My pediatrician said for me to find a new pediatrician. That they weren't going to operate like that," Taylor said.
Angelika was stunned that her doctor was willing to call it quits.

"But they said, based on sheer volume in their office, that they had to have some sort of protocol on vaccinations, that if one baby did it this way, all babies do it this way," said Taylor.

So is it OK  for your doctor to fire you?

WebMD pediatrician Hansa Bhargava says sometimes the answer is yes, because the physician-patient relationship is a two-way street.

"It's based on respect and open communication," said Bhargava. "If the patient is not following through with their treatment, they're not taking their medication, they're not getting the lab work they need, they're not following up, because the doctor ultimately wants to get the best healthcare for the patient."

Bhargava says she's never fired a patient, but knows colleagues who have.

It's not always about seeing eye-to-eye on your care, Sometimes patients are chronically late -- or no shows -- to appointments, or rude or abusive to the staff and doctors decide they've had enough.

"It doesn't happen that often... but when it does happen, it's better to have that conversation with the patient.  And the doctor will definitely take care of the patient for the next 30 days and help them find another physician, if that's what's needed," said Bhargava.

Angelika says she wasn't ready to leave Jack's pediatrician so she reached out to him and they were able to agree on a plan for Jack.     

If you've had a falling out with your doctor, you need to think consider whether you or your doctor -- or both of you -- may be to blame.

You both may need to apologize.

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