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What Makes a Good Gastroenterologist vs. a Bad Gastroenterologist

Ashley Nestler, MSW discusses finding a gastroenterologist who will support and understand patients with a history of eating disorders.

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track. My treatment team became concerned about my hiatal hernia and acid reflux while I was in partial hospitalization due to the pain interfering with my ability to maintain my eating plan. Since my suffering and discomfort were recognized, I felt heard and understood throughout my treatment.

Fortunately, I was able to see a surgeon during my treatment who epitomized the term “good healthcare provider.” I had almost given up hope of ever finding relief for my symptoms, but this surgeon was the first gastroenterologist and surgeon to take me seriously and agree to operate on me to correct my hiatal hernia and alleviate my acid reflux. He never once commented negatively on my size, and he even addressed my eating disorder, saying that the hiatal hernia was indeed brought on by my eating disorder and that my weight had nothing to do with the severity of my symptoms. Thank goodness for this doctor; after having surgery, I no longer have to deal with chronic pain or acid reflux. What made him a “good” doctor were his compassion and empathy.

Getting the sense of being heard and understood was a process that lasted quite some time. My mental health suffered greatly as a result of years of mistreatment at the hands of gastroenterologists and surgeons due to the false assumption that my weight was the root of all my problems. Please remember that you are not alone if you are going through the same thing. If you persist in making your voice heard, you will find a “good” doctor who will treat your suffering with compassion. It’s not uncommon to need to visit multiple doctors before settling on the best one for your needs. Do not give up.