Orginal Publication Date
MCV/Q, Medical College of Virginia Quarterly
When a medical practitioner decides that the time has come to refer his patient to a specialist, certain psychological problems arise which may, at times, interfere with the smooth accomplishment of the referral. These problems can and do occur daily in medical practice, and it often makes little difference whether the specialist is a thoracic surgeon, a neurosurgeon or a psychiatrist. Referrals create certain anxieties and fears in the mind of the patient. Some of these anxieties are common to all referrals. The patient asks himself, "What's going on? What does the doctor think I really have? How serious is it? Will I come out of this alive, incapacitated, disfigured? Is this referral necessary? Why can't I go on as I am? Is the specialist he's sending me to really good?" When good communications exist between the physician and his patient (and also between the physician and the specialist), the level of anxiety drops, and referral is much more easily accomplished.
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