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General Medical Questions
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Question : My father’s memory has gotten a lot worse over the past year, but he doesn’t seem to be aware of it. When I visited him recently, I saw what looked like some bad sores on his legs.
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

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March 08, 2012
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A:

There’s nothing wrong with calling his doctor. Doctors often get valuable information and insight from loved ones. Family members of my patients have frequently told me about things that the patients never mentioned. These are things I often need to know as the person’s doctor.

Don’t be put off if his doctor seems reluctant to get into a long discussion with you about your father’s medical condition. A doctor’s number-one relationship is with the patient. And without your father’s permission, he or she isn’t supposed to share his medical information.

For that reason, ideally, you should get your father’s consent first. Still, calling his doctor is worth a try. If the doctor doesn’t return your calls, write a brief note saying that you’re available if he or she wants to call you. Even if the doctor doesn’t call, he or she may then be prompted to take up the issue with your father.

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