What to Do When a Doctor Won't Listen to You -- A Life Hack

September 12, 2023 Natasha Tracy

It's so often the case that a doctor won't listen to you. I've had it happen over and over and over again. Some doctors are worse than others, of course, but it feels like they all do it on some level. I know they use their clinical judgment to assess whatever you say in an appointment, but still, it's no fun when a doctor won't listen to you.

The First Thing to Do When a Doctor Won't Listen to You

As a patient, the first thing to do when a doctor won't listen to you is to ask clarifying questions. Sometimes, it seems like a doctor isn't listening to you when, really, they just have really good reasons for their perspective. If you ask clarifying questions and start to understand their perspective, you might find that you agree with them after all. That's the best care scenario.

A Life Hack for When a Doctor Won't Listen to You

However, if you get to the place where your doctor won't listen to you and the clarifying questions aren't helping, I have a life hack for you. Get the doctor to put their exact decision into your medical record while you watch. That's right, stand over their shoulder or verify in the record that they are denying you a test, procedure, medication change, etc.  

The other thing you can do is record your appointment(s) on your phone. Just tell your doctor that you have trouble remembering everything that happens during an appointment and you need it for your own records. (You could always record without permission, but that's a bit stickier.)

And if you don't want to confront the doctor about whatever they won't listen to you about because maybe you experience appointment anxiety, have a loved one come to your appointment(s) with you. They can be the "bad guy." They can insist that the doctor listen to you, and when they don't, they can be the one to insist on it being in your medical record.

Why Does This Life Hack Work When a Doctor Won't Listen to You?

If the doctor is being unreasonable, they won't want their unreasonableness noted in the record. It's that simple. If you have it in your medical record, you can always go above their head and get someone else to look at what happened. Doctors don't want this. More than likely, they just want the problem to go away and will give you what you want (assuming you're being reasonable in the first place).

I'm not saying you should play this card over everything. It's a last resort as it may damage the doctor-patient relationship (that's where having an advocate do it can be helpful). But if you've been hitting your head over the same thing and you really need something, and the doctor really won't listen to you, try this hack. It works more often than you might think.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2023, September 12). What to Do When a Doctor Won't Listen to You -- A Life Hack, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

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