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Transcript: "What to Ask Your Doctor"

Albert Bahnfleth: When you do the blood chemistry. You always include the...

Alan Pocinki, M.D.: Right.

Albert Bahnfleth: The thyroid.

Alan Pocinki, M.D.: Right, we check the thyroid, right. Every six months...

Albert Bahnfleth: And if it's in the normal range?

Alan Pocinki, M.D.: Then good.

Announcer: 91-year-old Albert Bahnfleth knows how important it is to ask questions when he talks with his doctor.

Albert Bahnfleth: During my doctor visits, I ask many questions of him. And he patiently answers them in a manner that I can understand.

Marie Bernard, M.D.: It is extremely important during the doctor's visit to ask questions. You need to fully understand why you have a new treatment that's been initiated or why you're on new medications, what the expected side effects are, what the options are in terms of other treatments or other medications, because you will ultimately be responsible for managing what has been prescribed for you.

Announcer: Mr. Bahnfleth makes sure he asks about medications his doctor prescribes.

Albert Bahnfleth: If he prescribes a new medication I ask him why, and is it a medication that's in common use for this particular condition. When I have the prescription filled at the pharmacy, I also ask them for their information sheet on that particular medication. And usually that information sheet is printed in large print and adds to the information the doctor has already given me.

Announcer: There are also important questions to ask when the doctor prescribes a specific treatment.

Marie Bernard, M.D.: When the doctor prescribes a certain treatment, a patient should ask what specifically are the outcomes to be expected, what are the side effects to be expected, are there alternative treatments that could be beneficial to me and what are the benefits and the side effects of those treatments.

Announcer: Also be sure to ask questions about any medical tests that are prescribed and any diagnoses that you receive. Remember to prioritize your questions so that the doctor has time to address the ones that are most important to you.

Alan Pocinki, M.D.: Patients, if they do bring a list of things that they want to discuss, that they prioritize their list so that you know maybe they have ten things on the list and that there is really only time to cover three, they want to be sure that the most important thing on their list isn't number five.

Announcer: Finally, don't be shy about asking questions. To provide the best care, your doctor needs to know what’s going on with you. If something is bothering you, ask about it.

Alan Pocinki, M.D.: Patients should never feel embarrassed about asking questions. There's no question that's too simple, or too stupid, or too obvious to ask. If it's something that's important to them, then bring it up.

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