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13 Secrets For Getting Better Doctor Care

Oct 29, 2010 at 4:38 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Consider having an autopsy performed on your parents when they pass away.

It may sound heartless, but it's one of the 13 secrets to getting better doctor care that we focus on in a special report.

You might know pretty clearly that dad died of a stroke, but the autopsy might tell you he had prostate cancer growing in his body for 25 years, or suffered from heart disease, which can help you and other descendants guard against future threats.

Following the tips might keep you alive and healthier.

One of the key pieces of advice is to take your spouse or a partner to that doctor visit.

If you’re tempted to downplay symptoms from a medical issue, they can speak up with real story.

In the case of a sleeping disorder, for example, they may be the only one who can accurately describe the real problem.

Related to that, make sure to report changes to your health early.

Men are especially prone to say, "It'll go away, or get better."

Dr. Greg Johnson/Parkview Hospital Chief Medical Officer: " I would say often we wait too long and then we present and we hear the doctor say, 'I'd have liked to have seen this earlier', or, 'Our prognosis would have been better if you’d have presented earlier'."

Sometimes, medical issues blindside us, like the heart attack or bad traffic accident.

Johnson advises people to carry a card that lists the medications they are taking, any allergies they may have, the physicians who treat them and any ongoing health problems, so if an in-bound patient is incapacitated and can't communicate, the doctor isn't flying blind.

Surgery is always a scary prospect.

But you can ease your mind by hunting for the “maestro” of your particular kind of procedure.

Your doctor or Internet research can help you locate the "superstar" in his field.

Of course, a lot of times we don't get better because we insist on doing things our way.

The secret here, follow an agreed upon treatment plan.

Dr. Johnson: " If a physician presents something that you don't intend to do, we need to talk about that. A physician is not a dictator, and really you're the dictator as the patient, and you really should come to an agreed upon treatment plan."

Here are other tips that were compiled with the help of a Reader’s Digest article:

Provide accurate information to the doctor. Don’t tell him or her you have two drinks a day if it’s really four, or that you exercise twice a week when you rarely leave your couch. That hinders, not helps, any treatment plans.

Pick the brain of a good nurse to find the best doctor. The head ER or ICU nurse at your favored hospital gets an up close and personal view of which doctors perform under pressure and which ones don’t.

Develop a good relationship with your pharmacist. They can be a valuable resource in warning you about side effects from certain medications, and can let you know if one medication prescribed for your use clashes with another that you’re taking.

Don’t play the waiting game for test results. Too many patients figure silence from the doctor means everything is fine. If your physician tells you the results will be in on a certain day, call the office that day.

If your favored doctor isn’t on your insurance plan, don’t give up. By being persistent with the insurance company or your doctor, you might “Get With the Plan”.

When you face surgery, don’t just consult with the surgeon, talk to the anesthesiologist. Let him know how much you drink and what drugs, if any, you take. Hiding a drug habit may work with lots of people, but hiding it from the anesthesiologist would be a mistake, unless you don’t mind waking up in the middle of a surgery.

Customize your living will. If your health takes a turn for the worse and you can’t speak for yourself, a living will lets the doctor know if you do or do not want to be placed on a ventilator, are willing to take nutrition from a feeding tube, or in some cases request a do-not-resuscitate order.

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