I got a prescribed brain MRI today from my doctor. Although I agreed to schedule the MRI next week, I find I am not ready to do that after I come home. I am very busy recently and my symptom is not urgent.

I am not sure what should I do. Do I need to discuss this with my doctor (which means I probably need to schedule another appointment again, and as I said I am very busy recently), or I can simply not schedule the MRI and let the prescription expire? Will the hospital charge me if I do not make a schedule? Thank you!

  • 1
    Welcome to health SE :-). The economic details (such as the cases in which you would be charged for a service) would depend on your location, healthcare financing system etc. But from a health perspective - if the doctor prescribed such a diagnostic procedure, he probably had a reason. Whether your symptoms are urgent or not is up to your doctor to decide, we cannot do it on-line, and if you are not a physician you probably can't either. – Lucky Apr 14 '16 at 4:34
  • This is something you should definitely talk to your doctor about, as it may be something that could really benefit from early detection/confirmation, whether or not you think it is urgent. Unfortunately, however, the question itself is asking for personal medical advice, which isn't on topic for the site. – JohnP Apr 14 '16 at 21:49
  • All the comments advise contacting the doctor so that constitutes personal advice. So, you're giving personal advice and answering the question at the same time saying you can't. – Graham Chiu Apr 14 '16 at 23:57

This is a specific instance of where a physician has ordered a diagnostic test, and after agreeing to do the same, the patient decides for whatever reason not to adhere to their original commitment. The health implications obviously vary depending on what the underlying diagnosis is, and in some jurisdictions some physicians may be penalized for not following up on whether these tests have been done due to patient non adherence. By not doing the test you agreed to do, you strain the doctor patient relationship and the doctor may feel well within their rights to terminate the relationship.

It is therefore incumbent on you to advise your doctor that you do not wish to proceed with the test so that your doctor can then make alternative arrangements for you, and to document that you declined to proceed. This might include asking you to return to discuss the reasons for the test, or to refer you a specialist, presumably a neurologist in the specific instance above.

A letter written to your doctor might suffice, as might a telephone call to their office, depending on the policies of the office, to advise your doctor of your change in mind. If the test were intended to look for a serious illness, then they may not accept a phone call and may want it in writing instead.

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