The Real House Doctor

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The Real House Doctor

When Hugh Laurie solves suspense-filled medical cases on the hit TV series *House,* a similar diagnosis has probably already been made by Dr. Lisa Sanders, who inspired the series with her monthly *New York Times* column "Diagnosis." Rachael is a huge fan of the show and her column, and asks Dr. Sanders if she'll share everything you need to know before heading out to the doctor's office to get the best diagnosis possible! **Find a doctor you trust.** While the ailments depicted on *House* are over-the-top and require the expertise of Dr. House's elite diagnostics team, Dr. Sanders says in real life finding a doctor you trust is more important than initially seeking that kind of specialist. "Your doctor is a diagnostician. You have to find one who's going to listen to you, that's the most important thing," she explains. "It's absolutely about the relationship you have." **Don't be shy about your symptoms.** "When you go to the doctor, especially if something is going on, you have a story to tell and that story has a lot of really important information," Dr. Sanders says. "Research has shown that doctors will interrupt the patient after only 20 seconds, but the chances are your story is a little bit longer than that ... so if your doctor is one of the ones that interrupt you after 20 seconds, go back to your story. Have faith! There is important information in your story, 75 percent of diagnosis are made based on what the patient tells the doctor." **Avoid "door knob" questions.** During your exam, stay focused and try to avoid having to ask that last-minute question as your doctor is exiting the room. "His mind is already in the next room," she explains. "We try so hard to get everything out up front, your heart just sinks and you know what? Your doctor's mind is not there. So if you're coming to see a doctor and you have a lot of things you want to talk about, make a list!" **Second opinions.** "I think if you're unsure, then it's important to get a second opinion. If you have to have something done to you, than it's always important to get a second opinion," Dr. Sanders says. "But, your desire for a second opinion is probably based on your relationship with your doctor. If you feel like you can't trust what your doctor is telling you, that's a bad sign." **Number one question to ask your doctor.** If your doctor gives you a diagnosis for something, Dr. Sanders says you should be prepared with this response: "The most important question you can ask at that point is, 'Really? What else could it be.'" she says. "A doctor is going to tell you that you have the most common thing and most people have the thing that most people have, but that might not be you. So ask what else it could be."

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