Friday, October 28, 2011

Doctors and the Lack of Courtesy and Attention (Guest Post)

For quite some time I’ve been suggesting to my wife that she should write some posts for this blog. Well, she had an experience earlier today that finally prompted her to take my suggestion. So here is the first (and hopefully not last) guest post on Me Me Me Me Me!

How many times have you found yourself in a doctor’s appointment with a doctor who doesn’t actually want to listen to you and whose only goal is to give you the quickest answer possible and race out of the room before you can even open your mouth to speak? So many doctors today seem to be in this category, and it is the few doctors in the minority who actually are interested enough to listen to their patient and consider each one independently. Today I encountered yet another doctor who seemed more amused with himself and his own one-liner jokes than in listening to my problem. Had I not known better, I might have thought that I was having a prank pulled on me. Our conversation went like this:

Me: “I have pain on the edge of my heel, not only when I step down but also when I am sitting and my foot isn’t touching the floor.”

Doctor: “Your heel hurts most when you get up in the morning?”

Me: “No, it hurts all day exactly the same. It doesn’t hurt more in the morning.”

Doctor: “So, your heel hurts most in the morning when you get up!”

Me: “No, it hurts the same all day long.”

Doctor: “Where is the pain?”

Me: “On the edge of my heel.”

Doctor: “And the pain is in the bottom middle part of your heel.”

Me: “No, the pain is in the outer edge of my heel.”

Doctor: “Well, based on the fact that your heel hurts most in the morning, and is in the bottom middle part of your heel, you have plantar fasciitis.”

Ahhhhhh! At this point, I had about had it and knew that it was pointless to do anything more except smile and nod … while plotting my escape and wait for an appointment with another specialist who would hopefully listen to my symptoms.

The underlying question that we should ask here is why are the considerate, polite doctors in the minority and the doctors with the big egos in the majority for us patients? If we are willing to pay their hefty fees, then surely they should be responsible for actually doing their job both correctly and politely. Is it polite to ignore what your patient is saying? No. Is it polite to literally be running out the door while the patient is still talking? No. How would that very same doctor like it if he came to us for a service and we behaved the same way?  Not too happily, I imagine…

I’ve asked her to elaborate on some of her thoughts, maybe talk about why she thinks doctors act this way or what we, as patients, can do. Hopefully, there will be more to add to this post in the coming days. And we’d love to hear from doctors, too. Do you think that what my wife describes accurately reflects your profession? If so, why? If not, what do you think explains her experience?

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