Any doctor can make mistakes. You could feel like you have the best doctor in the state. They could be kind, compassionate, experienced and highly educated. They can still make a mistake.

That said, if you get a “bad doctor,” do your odds of a negative outcome increase? They may, especially if that doctor is careless, reckless or negligent. You are trusting your health and perhaps your life to this individual. You have to know that you can really trust them.

To help, here are a few red flags to look for:

  • They dismiss your worries out of hand, without really considering what you have to say.
  • They are rude and short with you, making you feel nervous to ask questions about your own health.
  • They seemed burned out, as if they have been working too many hours and seeing too many patients.
  • You see a lot of minor communication errors. Remember that many serious mistakes happen because doctors are not good at communicating.
  • If you ever suggest an alternative or question what the doctor tells you, rather than working with you on the subject, they just act hurt or insulted.
  • You feel like they are far too quick to give you a battery of treatments you don’t think you’ll need.
  • They have a poor record of mistakes, and prior patients express concerns.

Looking for these red flags can help, and you may be able to avoid a bad doctor. Again, though, you have to remember that all doctors make mistakes from time to time. You must know what legal rights you have if this happens to you.