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For Better or Worse: When You Lose Your Trusted Medical Professional

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Running is long thought to be a solo sport and in reality it mostly is. Truth be told it takes an army behind the scenes to get you there. From the people who get up before the sun to log miles with you, to the ones who listen to your theories and plans for training, your family, your favorite employee at your local running store , your massage therapist, your orthopedist, physical therapist or any number of others that you pay, or that you don’t, who play a role in getting you to the start line.

Few relationships in life take the interpersonal role of a medical professional and patient. Ideally you are going to continue to see and build a relationship with someone you not only trust and that is good at their job but that you genuinely like. What happens when that person becomes subject of speculation, accusation, has their license revoked or at the worst has charges pressed against them?

Don’t Blame Yourself

Unlike the incredibly strong women training under the USA Gymnastics governing body, the choice in who you saw was your own. That can cause a severe blow to your own feelings about how you make choices. Questioning what you missed or didn’t notice can be quite consuming. Spending time going over and back over encounters, conversations, comments and the entire relationship multiple times is normal. Even if you do not or cannot fathom the behavior that has led to the situation at hand it does not mean you missed something.

Often predators, no matter the type of crime– violent, sexual, monetary or emotional in nature– seek a specific type of victim simply by preference, and it is of no reflection on the victim. It’s also not your fault if you referred people to this person or practice. You felt comfortable and that you were receiving adequate care and offered what most people use to find their medical professionals– a referral. After that, the individual was responsible for making their choice.

The “missing something” you are concerned about and looking for may not have been visible for you to see. People who commit crimes are charismatic, manipulative and secretive.

The Rumor Mill

It’s your choice to talk about it. In small towns or certain communities, like the running community, word travels fast. You do not need to confirm, deny or hide your interactions with anyone unless you want to. Some people may not want anyone to know they at one point saw this now unsavory professional, that’s ok. It’s no one’s business but yours.

Often people are more into the gossip portion of an incident that the facts of an incident. People love to hear, “Oh, I’m totally not surprised, I had this bad feeling but couldn’t put my finger on it” type of fodder. You can simply say you don’t share personal health information. If you don’t want to talk about it, stating you don’t want to talk about it or that you’d rather not contribute to gossip especially if you have no personal experience. It might be all some people can talk about and if you really can’t handle listening to talk about it or feel things are inaccurate, make that statement then distance yourself.

Like all things, this too shall pass and soon there will be new things to talk about. Just keep in mind there is the potential that some of the things you are hearing can be generated by gossip and not fact. It’s in your best interest to listen to the facts. If you’re the type that needs to talk to “hash things out” or feel better, choose your audience wisely and know anything you do say will be taken as an accurate account. So be sure to speak your truth if you choose to talk about the topic outside of your immediate family.

Left in a Lurch

Losing a trusted confidant and someone who has truly helped you can be a big bummer, even if they are not what you thought. You may now be stuck in a situation where you need to start from scratch with someone new. A daunting and time-consuming task to begin with, you could be going in with a microscopic eye and feeling particularly sensitive to any and all things. A good thing to keep in mind is that likelihood of being put in this situation again is pretty low. While it feels like a lot of medical professionals lose their license each year due to the sensationalizing of media outlets, the percentage is actually pretty low.

Based on your comfort level it might be the time to get e referral from a trusted friend or ask another trusted medical professional to recommend someone. Alternatively you could gather a list of individuals and ask around in order to narrow down the list. The most important factor is that you feel comfortable and it might help upon the first meeting to let this person know your history. They might be extremely sensitive to it and can talk you through the process to further ensure your trust.

It’s not a pleasant feeling to feel as though the wool has been pulled over your eyes, especially by someone you were not only paying but that you put your trust and faith in to help you. We do, however, live in a great democracy that chooses to charge people who wrong others and prevent them from doing so in the future.