How to talk with doctors…

This is a response I made on a Facebook post about how to try and get a surgeon to help her.

(Since she posted her post on a public forum, I copied it here, but I didn’t include her name for privacy.)

Patients really need to see it from the doctor’s point of view sometimes…especially in this medical legal climate…


So I’m a decade plus past my total colectomy w/anastemosis. I know I have several hernia sites and last month had a radical hysterectomy.

I had two surgeons work on me and the general who was there in case I had bowel issues agreed to look for and correct any he found while he was in there. Well, he didn’t with the excuse on the physical exam before surgery he didn’t feel any intestines poking thru.


My question to the group is this, have any of you dealt with hernia sites that do not bulge since we don’t have enough guts to poke thru and how did you convince someone to fix them? I have diastasis recti so bad I can fit my hand in it, an umbilical hernia, and 3 surgical site hernias. All you can tell are holes in the mucles, all painful and growing bigger with the years, but this guy not only lied to my face and dismissed me, but he squandered a precious opportunity to fix them and not put me thru more surgery!

Does this make sense? What do I do? How do I explain a hernia without the guts poking thru issue as urgent in need of fixing?


This is having a super solid relationship with a family doctor is really important — he or she can push a surgeon for you even if your imaging studies are negative.

If you don’t have a strong relationship with a family doctor (or any doctor who knows you well), then you must just find another surgeon. Its **extremely** important when you meet with this new surgeon (or any surgeon), that you are calm and business like, you acknowledge that you understand that you’re a complicated and difficult medical case, but you are in their office because you are begging for their help. Explain calmly what’s going on, and what you think is a good solution, and why. Bring any supportive medical articles to back up your assessment too.

You have to understand, surgeons are going to scared of you — and they *definitely* don’t want to cut into you and make it worse. Because you’ve already had so much work done by surgeons, any new surgeon specially is going to nervous about cutting you open again. As they see it, as much as you are in pain now, they don’t want to make it worse. That’s why you have to talk with them calmly and matter-of-factly, almost as if you were one doctor talking with another, explaining why you think you need this surgery. If they say no, just say thank you and move on to the next surgeon. That’s really all you can do.

About hopeforanswers

Some kind of rare immune deficiency, yet to be determined. A lifetime of infections without an elevated white cell blood or fever. Very grateful to be alive, very thankful for the friends who’ve supported me and for access to literally millions of dollars worth of medical care. I’m not the bubble child, I’m somewhere in between.
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