"I grew up in India, and doctors there were looked up to as being next to God, and they knew everything and could cure you," Kulkarni says. "What I found out is that even though I like my doctors, I don't have to take every recommendation they give me. I can do my own research."
Srinivasan, the physician who encouraged Kulkarni not to give up, says sometimes doctors don't know about new, cutting-edge treatments being used by other physicians.
"Some doctors are more out-of-date or up-to-date than others," says Srinivasan, an associate professor of medicine at UC-Davis Medical Center who does research on shared decision-making between doctors and patients.
"I get a lot of good ideas from patients," he says. "One of the things we have to do as physicians is to listen to our patients."
* * *
That last sentence has to be taught in every medical school. I knew what was wrong with me, because I'd been diagnosed by a specialist, and I knew what could be done for it. The doctors I dealt with pretended to listen, then wrote down what they wanted to write, and changed my diagnosis to what they wanted to treat. I knew more about my body and my illness than any of the doctors I dealt with at first, yet none of them were willing to listen to me. That would have made all the difference.