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How to “Break Up” With Your Doctor

In our four-part series of interviews with gastroenterologist Dr. Neilanjan Nandi, he will be answering patient questions on all-things IBD. First up is Brooke Abbott. She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis over 12 years ago.

Brooke dives into questions on what to do when it's a bad doctor-patient fit.

When you want a second opinion

Brooke first asks whether she needs to tell her doctor if she's seeking a second opinion. Dr. Nandi says that while a patient doesn't have to, he does encourage transparency.

"Two minds, three minds, four minds are better than one," he says. He adds that when different members of a patient's care team can talk, it results in better care.

"It's normal to seek a second opinion," Dr. Nandi says. "And to have two GI doctors in tandem working with you, a primary and a secondary IBD specialist."

Three tips for breaking up with your doctor

But what if you and your GI doctor simply aren't gelling? Brooke asks Dr. Nandi for his advice on how to "break up" with your gastroenterologist.

Dr. Nandi offers his top three tips:

  1. Psych yourself up: Remember that this is about you. You are the one with the disease, and you deserve the best care possible.
  2. Role-play the conversation: Practice the conversation with a friend or family member.
  3. Be forthright and honest: When it comes time to talk to your doctor, you can say things like: "I feel like I'm not making any progress," and, "Can you please help me find a second opinion?"

"The number one rule: remember that YOU are number one," Dr. Nandi adds. "And that is all that matters at the end of the day. You have to be happy with your healthcare."

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