Sharon Denise Allison-Ottey
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What Doctors Want You to Know But May Not Tell You

An excerpt from Is That Fried Chicken Wing Worth It?
Sharon D. Allison-Ottey, MD

I asked doctors from all over the country to tell me what they would tell YOU, the patient, if they could be open and honest.  I promised that I would keep comments confidential upon request.  Here is what they said, these are eye opening (and sometimes funny—they chose how they would be identified)


The Question: "If you could tell a patient ONE thing openly, honestly about their health (clinical or not) what would it be?"

(A few responses from doctors; you’ll find them all in the book  “Is That Fried Chicken Wing Worth It?”)


"Stop LYING, you and I know that you're NOT exercising and that you're eating everything but the kitchen sink--it's not water weight it's FAT."  --I’m Fat too MD

“What part of no do you not understand, the 'N' or the 'O'.  To all of my drug seekers.” --NCMD

“Don’t call and ask for a back to work slip if you’ve missed your last three appointments have a balance and haven’t been seen in my office in 2 years.  Don’t bother with the call.” --Doctor What Do You Think This Is?

“Take care of your parents as they get older.  They took care of you and now it’s your time. Be patient and don’t be mean to them---what happens when your kids treat you bad.” --Geriatrician

“Don’t give me a sob story about not having your $25 copay when you drive a car that is newer than mine and you come into my office wearing Ferragamo shoes.  It’s an insult to me, my profession and my office.”  --Tired Doc

“Don’t stop me in the grocery store or at the mall and go into details about your health.  I am trying to enjoy my one or two days off and I’ll smile but I really am getting pissed off; especially if I’m with my family.  Respect my time.”--I Have a LIFE MD                                                                         

“Don’t’ tell me that you’re taking your medications every day and following a low fat, low salt diet when I ask you if you need refills and you don’t and you’ve gained 15 pounds.  A big hint is that I only give you enough pills for 90 days and unless it’s been less than that—you are NOT taking the medications every day.  I’m not stupid!” --Doc that Cares

“People be careful with your partners. I had a 32 year old patient with HIV who had just given birth. When repeatedly asked if her partner knew---she said NO! I am the girlfriend. He and his wife will eventually find out! I was disgusted!!!” --OB/GYN

“A pill is a medicine, whether I prescribe it or you buy it at a health food store or from your cousin.  Tell me what you are taking. I won’t judge you; I’m just trying to keep you healthy.” --A Doc that believes in holistic medicine but not craziness

“The EMERGENCY Dept/Room is for EMERGENCIES.  Don’t come with an ingrown toenail and then get mad when you have to wait for 4 hours to be seen.” --ER Doc

“We really are not rich and if we are it is NOT from patient care.” --Primary Care MD

“Take a Bath!” --(Several MDs including Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, Urologists and Colorectal Surgeons)

“If I write a prescription or order a test and your insurance company denies it.  Yell at them, not at my staff and certainly not at me.  If I write it or order it—why would I deny it?” --Fed up MD

“Viagra is not the cure for being a bad lover. It doesn’t make you “last longer” and it doesn’t make your penis grow.  You also probably don’t need it before age 50 and certainly not at 25 years old with no other medical conditions.  If I say no, that’s really what I mean…NO.”  --Internist

“I don’t make any more money from writing you a prescription or ordering a test.  I really do have your best interest at heart.  Respect me as the professional that I am and I will respect you as the patient that you are.”--Family Medicine   

“Take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.” --Dr. H  Brooklyn, NY             

“Doctors are human and we make mistakes.  Just because I made a mistake or didn’t diagnose you the first minute that I saw you doesn’t mean that I’m a bad doctor.  Don’t tell everybody what I did wrong, unless you will allow me to tell them what YOU did wrong or the details of your history.  We’re both human, I try my best and I’m darned good at what I do.” --Human MD

“Just because you read it on the internet doesn’t make it right.  We can talk about it and I’ll give you my opinion and reasons for your treatment.  I invite you to get a second opinion—from a DOCTOR not your keyboard.” --Internist

“Don’t starve yourself the day before you come to the office in an effort to try get your sugar/glucose level down.  The hemoglobin A1C tells me what you’ve been doing for the last 3 months.  It’s not about getting the number right for me—it’s about your health.” --Diabetes Doc

“Be on time for your appointment; don’t assume that I’m going to be late.  On the other hand, if I’m running late it is usually because I am giving more care to someone in need.  I’m not just watching television.  If you understand that then when it’s your time maybe the next person will understand.  I am committed to my patients, not the clock on the wall.” --I Do Care, MD

“I’ve seen and heard it all; you’re not going to shock me and I’m not judging you.  Tell me the truth and let’s handle it.” --Truth Works MD

“Every day I begin with prayer in my office for you.  Every night I end my day in prayer for you and your families.  I would hope that you would remember me in your prayers. I believe that being a physician is a calling from God and although I may not openly talk about it—I ask for His guidance. Some Doctors are Christians too.” --Just an Instrument  MD

“You get what you pay for,  if you get the cheapest insurance policy from your job or wherever;  you coverage is going to be limited.  Spend time understanding your insurance coverage and remember that I am YOUR doctor and will do what’s right for you—not for your insurance company.  Sometimes you will need to invest more in your health.” --Concerned Doc

“Raise your kids’ right so they don’t tear up my office.  You may think that “Little Johnny’s” temper tantrum is cute but it’s not; he’s in training to be a terrorist.” --Pediatrician


“Get your priorities right.  You have no problem paying for Botox but when I tell you that you need to have a biopsy on a mole you want to know how much your insurance will cover and if it’s necessary.  Seriously you need to think about it.” --Dermatologist with a Conscious

“No matter what your husband says you CAN”T get gonorrhea from a toilet seat.  He’s lying and you’re stupid to believe him.” --I Love My Job MD

“Pay me without me having to send you over to the collections department.  If your insurance company or whomever sends you a check for your care then PAY ME. You pay everyone else, why not the office that takes care of your health?  If you can’t pay it all, pay SOMETHING and don’t get mad when my staff asks for the money.  This office does not run off of “love”, we have to pay rent, staff, water, lights, other bills and my kids need to eat too.” --Broke MD

“You are what you eat, “Junk In equals Junk Out” for you and your kids.” --Family Doc

“Being mean and nasty to my staff gets you nowhere.  Respect them, tell me if there’s a problem but don’t treat them like dirt.  They are your direct connection to me.” --Dr. K

“Don’t threaten me with a lawsuit when I don’t do what you ask me to do.  I am not a vending machine; I am a professional and will give you the best care that I can.  This is not a drive thru restaurant wherein you study the menu at home and then come in demanding prescriptions, tests or whatever.  Let’s have a discussion and just like you decide what you will do;  I will decide what I professionally think is right.  If you can’t agree with that PLEASE find another doctor.” --Internal Medicine

“Don’t ask me if your husband or wife is cheating.  Ask them and no I can’t give you a copy of their medical records without their consent.” --Chicago Doc

“I really do care about YOU, my patient.  But I need for you to care about me as a professional.  I do have a life outside of medicine and although I am on call after hours it really is for urgent issues.  Don’t call me to talk about a cold at 11pm when you could have come into the office that day or wait until the morning.  It really is inconsiderate.” --Family Medicine

“A Thank YOU would be nice.” --Unappreciated MD
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