We all want to think our doctors are infallible. Wed like to think our doctors know everything there is to know about treating our particular condition. Yet the truth is, at some point in time the doctor has to learn by doing.Yes, they go through intensive education and rigorous training, but there is a world of difference between textbook learning and the unpredictability of real-life practice. Even established professionals can go an entire career without treating many conditions firsthand.This doesnt mean that you should avoid visiting your healthcare practitioner or be fearful about the quality of care you will receive in your time of need.As I explain in my gripping, fictionalized memoir, Death on the Learning Curve, it's important that you regard your doctor as a friendly advocate for your health and well-being. However, you should never be a passive spectator when treatment, medication, or surgery is proposed.Its Your Health on the Line & You Need to be Engaged in the Process. Anytime you experience a health problem, be prepared to actively participate in the decision-making process. You should be ready to ask questionsnot to be confrontational, but to become fully informed.Heres My Top 7 Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before Accepting Any Kind of Medical Treatment:1. How long have you been in practice?2. What is your experience with this condition?3. What are my treatment options, and what other options are available that you or my health plan is not offering? If you dont understand your doctors basic explanation of your condition and treatment, then by all means ask him or her for more information.4. What are the possible complications of the proposed treatments or surgeries? If there are any complications, how will you correct the problem?5. Aside from your own partners, whom would you go to for treatment if you had this condition?6. Are you personally going to perform the surgery? Will others assist and participate in a major way?7. Can I ask your bookkeeper what my financial responsibility will be? (You need to know in advanceand dont be afraid to negotiate!)The above questions may seem basic, but are very important to get a better sense of whether the doctor you have chosen is someone you truly want as your partner in medical treatment.Inappropriate Questions or BehaviorNotice I did not include the question: how many times have you been sued? Weve all heard horror stories, but it is less than useful to ask your doctor how many times he or she has been sued. In todays cultural climate, most doctors have been sued more than once, especially the good ones!Inappropriate actions and questions, however well intentioned, can actually undermine your treatment. By recognizing in advance when you are coping with the stresses and fears that go hand-in-hand with serious medical diagnoses, you can avoid compromising the crucial doctor-patient relationship.Your Healths Bottom LineMedical crises are frightening and patients can often feel overwhelmed. But by taking the responsibility to actively participate in the decision-making process and actually work with your doctor for your own highest good, you can dispel your fears. This will allow you and your doctor to focus on the ultimate goal: returning to wellness.