Just like many relationships, your relationship with your plastic surgeon should be based on trust, open and honest communication, proximity, and respect. If any of these are not optimal, then it may be time to fire your plastic surgeon.
Of course, this is probably not a common topic in a blog actually written about by a plastic surgeon, but there are ways to end this relationship that are respectful and helpful.
First, do you really want to end the relationship and start over? The grass is not always greener elsewhere, and if your relationship can be salvaged, especially with someone who has operated on you, then it may be worthwhile to save the doctor-patient relationship. With some thought, you may realize that an office staff member, and not the plastic surgeon, may be the source of your consternation. Work with your doctor and the office staff to re-establish a good relationship.
Open communication is key to any great relationship, and you should feel free to talk openly and honestly about what’s wrong in your relationship. Maybe the plastic surgeon is technically gifted but not the warmest or most articulate person in the world. Or maybe you’re not explaining yourself well enough to your doctor and the office staff. Either way, it may be worth spending the extra effort to get your point across, or listening more closely to what your plastic surgeon is telling you.
Just like your Mom told you- never burn bridges. Especially in smaller communities or with more difficult procedures, word does get around. Angry soliloquies might work in movies, but in real life, it’s better to part ways in a respectful fashion. You never know when you need more medical records, more hints, or even medical care from your original plastic surgeon.
If you truly feel that your relationship with your plastic surgeon is suboptimal, then getting your medical records and maintaining a professional attitude during the entire break-up is helpful. Although plastic surgery is very personal, there is a fair amount of science and medicine involved, and sometimes your body will not heal as well you would like, despite the best surgical care and your personal attention after your procedure.
Due to Federal privacy laws, it is imperative that you sign consent forms allowing your medical records to be sent to you, another doctor, another hospital, or another medical entity. Just calling and making a verbal request is generally not considered as secure. Also, the Feds have discussed with doctors the need to check ID and to avoid identity theft. Don’t be peeved if you’re asked repeatedly to confirm your identity for your medical records- it’s for your overall benefit!
Please realize that many plastic surgeons are wary of seeing a patient who has had surgery elsewhere, and may be interested in revision surgery or a second opinion. Any patient who is not happy with their previous plastic surgeon tends to raise our antennae, and the consultation can be long and very detail oriented. Every case is different, of course, but don’t be surprised if it takes several attempts to find a plastic surgeon in your town who is willing to see you.
Previous medical records are key to getting a good 2nd opinion. Although you may be very intelligent, you may not know exactly what technique or suture was used for your particular procedure. Any medical information about your surgery is helpful with a consultation with another plastic surgeon.
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