Community Views: How Doctors Treat You When You Talk About Heart Failure
Last updated: February 2022
When it comes to dealing with heart failure, your doctor plays a key role in your long-term health and well-being. Having a doctor who listens and shows concern can have a positive impact on both your physical and mental health. However, having a doctor who dismisses your questions or concerns can be incredibly hurtful and discouraging.
To find out more about your experiences with doctors, we turned to the Heart-Failure.net Facebook page. We asked community members to tell us: “Has your doctor told you that you are overreacting, being sensitive, or that your concerns are irrational?”
More than 75 of you weighed in, with both good and bad experiences. Here is a look at what you shared.
Dismissed by doctor
Several people in the community shared that they were outright dismissed by either their doctor or someone on their healthcare team. Unfortunately, this kind of attitude can cause people to stop sharing their symptoms with their doctor, which is dangerous.
Thankfully, most people who were treated this way did not allow this bad behavior to silence them. Instead, they kept searching until they found a doctor who would listen.
“I had a tech when I was diagnosed who kept saying I was too young and it was ‘white coat syndrome.’ I finally complained to my cardiologist, and I never saw her again.”
“Yes, until they ran more tests, but they never apologized!”
“Yes. It was heartbreaking. Reported early symptoms to PCP, only to have her dismiss them as anxiety. I ended up in the ER exactly 5 weeks later and was assigned a cardiologist who listened.”
Told to quit complaining
Doctors should not be telling patients to stop complaining, but that is exactly what a few community members experienced. This type of feedback from a doctor is rude and clearly shows a lack of bedside manner.
Bigger than that, it shows a lack of concern. It is not helpful to tell someone to quit complaining. If this happens to you, it may be time to find another doctor.
“In February, I was told that because I had a pacemaker, there was nothing wrong with my heart and to quit complaining. In June, I was told I did not have much time and needed open heart surgery NOW.”
“I had regular doctors insinuate that I was being overly worried about something.”
Changed doctors because of it
A couple people shared that they did not like how they were being treated by their doctor. This provided them with the motivation to find a new doctor. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
“Yes, and we found a new one!”
“I had one cardiologist tell me I needed to get a job, get some hobbies, and go to church, and I would do a lot better. I told him that if I were able to work, I would have gone back in a heartbeat! He did not really listen to anything I had to say, so I found another cardiologist who could actually help me in dealing with my heart problems.”
Treated with dignity
Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of people who answered the prompt shared that their doctors listen, take them seriously, and show them respect. This is how the doctor-patient relationship should be. When people feel safe with their doctors, they are much more likely to share concerns. Every bit of information a doctor receives helps them notice changes in your health, which ultimately leads to better care.
“No not at all, and sometimes I ask silly questions because having CHF is a bit scary. My doctor helps me through a lot. The nurses, too. I also have a pacemaker and ICD, and those are checked often. I am extremely happy with all my doctors.”
“No, I have the best cardiologist ever. He is very compassionate and understanding.”
We want to thank everyone who shared for this story. We are grateful to have such an active community that is so supportive. It can help to know that you are not alone in facing the many challenges of heart failure.
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