The Checkup Podcast: Talking Back to Your Doctor

A podcast about health and health myths, from Slate and WBUR.
Sept. 30 2013 12:50 PM

Talking Back to Your Doctor

The Checkup from Slate and WBUR on why it’s so hard, and so important, to question your physician.

Listen to Episode No. 6 of The Checkup: Talking Back to Your Doctor

The Checkup is a new health podcast, a collaboration between Slate and WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station. You’ll find all six episodes on The Checkup’s individual feed.

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Welcome to The Checkup. Our sixth episode, "Talking Back to Your Doctor," opens with a question: Why do so many of us find it so hellishly hard to speak freely with our doctors? What is it about a white coat that makes even normally assertive people clam up?

We begin with the dramatic story of Alicair Peltonen, an administrative assistant diagnosed with a rare cancer who had to have a chunk the size of a baseball removed from her thigh. Throughout her medical saga, she found that she often had urgent questions echoing in her mind, but felt too inhibited to voice them. She set out to discover why. We speak with Dr. Jo Shapiro of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston about what she calls "Conversation Deficit Disorder" among doctors. And we hear from Dr. Annie Brewster, who has special insight into doctor-patient communication because she's both a practicing doctor and a multiple sclerosis patient who decided not to follow her doctor's recommendations about taking a particular medication.  

Your hosts are Carey Goldberg and Rachel Zimmerman, former newspaper reporters and co-producers of WBUR's CommonHealth blog. Each episode of The Checkup features a different topic—previous topics included college mental healthsex problems, the Insanity workout, and vaccine issues. 

The Checkup Podcast is produced at WBUR by George Hicks.

Like CommonHealth on Facebook, and tell us and other listeners what you think of this week’s edition. Or drop a note to podcasts@slate.com.

Carey Goldberg is the co-host of WBUR’s CommonHealth blog, and a former Boston bureau chief of the New York Times.

Rachel Zimmerman is the co-host of WBUR’s CommonHealth blog, and a former health care reporter at the Wall Street Journal.