Doctor, May I

When its time for a specialist, dont take no for an answer


Remember the children's game, "Mother May I?" The first player to make it across a room was the winner, but no one could take a single step unless "Mother," the leader, gave her permission. In life, we ask permission for many things. We check with our boss to see if we may leave work early; we politely ask to borrow an item from a friend. But when it comes to our health, we should be able to meet with a diabetes specialist …even if our current doctor says no.

If you've used the same family doctor for a while, you have probably developed a wonderful rapport. You rely on his or her guidance and believe that you are in good hands. Suddenly, you have diabetes and realize that the number of treatment options is overwhelming and exciting. Unfortunately, the average internist does not have the time to keep up on every new development that happens in the diabetes world. For the best care possible, see a specialist – an endocrinologist – who works almost exclusively with diabetes patients. For many people, however, that move can be an uncomfortable one.

"Everyone seems to be seeing an ‘endo.' I'd like to see one too, but I don't want to hurt my doctor's feelings. I don't know what to do. I'm too afraid to ask." — Jane

Most doctors should support your decision. Others will be threatened by it. Regardless of their reaction, if you wish to see an endocrinologist, you should be able to do so. Here are some ways to help make this happen:

How should you open this discussion with your current physician?

First remember:

  • You are in charge of your diabetes, not your doctor.
  • You deserve the best advice possible.
  • You are not firing your physician, but are expanding your health care team to include an additional expert.

Susan: "Doctor Dave, I'd like to see an endocrinologist."

Dr. Dave: "That is a great idea. I'd like to consult with an expert on your case. I'll get you the name of one in my building."

What if your doctor says no?

Susan: "Doctor Dave, I'd like to see an endocrinologist."

Dr. Dave: "But, you are doing well right now."

Susan: "True, but I'd like to find out what is new in diabetes care and see if any of these treatments are for me. Can you recommend someone?"

Dr. Dave: "I have a colleague in this building. I'll get you his number."

Most doctors generally welcome the input of an associate, but if yours doesn't, don't let that stop you from finding one on your own.

How to find an endocrinologist?

  • Ask your current physician, if possible.
  • Call a local hospital.
  • Ask a friend with diabetes.
  • Use the dLife diabetes locator to find a specialist in your area.

Don't deny yourself the best care possible because you are concerned about your doctor's feelings. Put yourself first…you deserve it.

Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.


Last Modified Date: June 20, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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