What Qualities Should I Look for in a Doctor?
The path to a myasthenia gravis (MG) diagnosis can be exhausting, but finding the right doctor can make a huge impact. We had the opportunity to hear from our patient leader, Mallory San Nicolas, about her experiences with MG doctors. We asked her to share some of the best qualities or traits to look for.
Read on as Mallory shares what is most important to her in a relationship with healthcare providers and describes the relationship with her current neurologist.
Someone who listens
Some of the best qualities I look for when finding a doctor are their ability to listen, their experience with myasthenia gravis specifically, and being open to working with me to find a treatment plan, not just telling me.
The ability to listen is the most important to me. I’ve found many doctors throughout my experience who assume that because they’re the doctor, they know best. While education is extremely important, I feel that experience from living with the disease is also very important.
Sometimes we have symptoms or flares that aren’t "textbook" and a doctor’s ability to hear us can be the difference between us feeling better or leaving us with having to suffer. That goes for my primary and my neurologist, but also the doctor at the emergency room too. Having a doctor who will truly hear me, and try to find a way to make me feel better, means the world.
Experience with MG
The second most important thing I look for is a doctor’s experience with MG. I’ve had doctors who had little experience with MG, but because they specialized in a similar disease (multiple sclerosis or MS), they assumed they knew how to help me and ultimately didn’t.
I’ve actually had doctors who told me that it would be in my best interest to find another doctor who actually specialized in MG. Since it is a rare disease, finding specialists who can offer their knowledge and experience is exceptional.
Ability to work together
The last thing is finding a doctor who will actually work with you. This goes hand in hand with a doctor who will listen. Finding a doctor who will listen to your opinions and then devise a plan together with you about what treatment you should stop or move forward with is exceptional.
I’ve had doctors who told me to do something that I knew would end disastrously but they insisted, and so I listened but I was the one who suffered the consequences. I know better now.
My current neurologist
I’ve been with my current doctor for over 3 years. I was actually handed down to them by a doctor who decided to focus more on MS patients. The doctor I’m working with now is a younger doctor and isn’t so set in her ways, which means she has been amazing at listening to me and trying to understand MG on a deeper level so that she can apply that to helping other patients.
She definitely had the ability to listen, empathize, and has been great at working with me. Although she doesn’t have as much experience with MG as other doctors in my past, the willingness to learn and be open to what her patients have to say makes a huge difference.
It might have been difficult to have her as my doctor in the beginning when I didn’t know much about MG, but as someone who has learned a lot, it’s definitely been a good doctor-patient relationship.
Have you made any MG-friendly adaptations to your home?