Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A few things patients hate about doctors

I often have to provide a shoulder to cry on for my patients. Many of them are very unhappy with their previous doctors, and since I am a doctor too, I listen carefully to their tales of woe, to try to make sure I don't make the same mistakes with my patients !
Here are some of the things patients hate about doctors.
1. Endless waits - routinely, for no rhyme or reason. Many doctors seem to take a perverse pride in making patients wait. Patients need to be patient, but not in a doctor's "waiting" room ! This just reflects poor time management on the part of the doctor.
2. No explanations. Doctors are very used to having their orders being followed, so they just tell their patients what to do, without explaining what or why.
3. No discussion of options. Many doctors are still very authoritarian, and expect blind obedience from their patients. They refuse to cosndier alternatives - or to discuss these.
4. Rude behaviour. Doctors like to project how busy they are and how valuable their time is, so they are often rude and inconsiderate. Perversely, their ability to keep patients "in their place" makes them feel important !
5. Not explaining the cost. Some doctors think it is below their dignity to talk about crass matters such as money - while others use this as an excuse to extract every last penny they can from their patients. Patients expect to pay for medical services - they just need to know how much the cost is, so they can budget for it !
6. No privacy. Some doctors believe in "multi-tasking" in order to improve their efficiency and their "patient through-put " - so they will often talk to two-three patients at one time. The least patients expect is undivided attention for a few minutes - but they often fail to get even this !
7. Not listening. Many doctors feel they "know-it-all" and do not even bother to listen to the patient's perspective or feelings. Patients feel cheated when they cannot unburden themselves.

Many senior doctors continue with these bad habits - partly because they can get away with this behaviour, and partly because they don't know any better. Unless patients learn to speak up for their rights, matters will enevr improve.

I can understand why poor patients put up with such behaviour. Beggars can't be choosers, and they are so grateful for any care they receive at government hospitals, that they don't expect any better. But why do rich patients, who pay large fees to their doctors in posh hospitals tolerate such rudeness ? Unless patients learn to get off their knees, doctors will remain comfortably ensconced on their pedestals !

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:02 AM

    To the doctor, what you posted doesn't seem like what a doctor would say. There are good doctors left...I think, and there are bad bad bad to sad doctors...I know. I'm from Cananda where ice never melts.....(Just kidding) Our system works off on our tax. Everyone gets treated and it's covered by OHIP to a certain extent. However, since doctors gets paid as long as the patient present their card... They often have a very good slogan at their front door. "Oops, Your 10 minutes are up, lets talk about your problems next time." More patients they see, more they get paid that day.

    Yeah the poor gets treated and the rich gets treated. I'm not sure if it's an equal manner, but everyone gets treated. Unfortunately, I'm not too sure about this system anymore. Because I can only ask ONE doctor for advice, whom I have signed my life with. I am monitored by one doctor for the rest of my life and by asking another doctor for advice I feel like I am having an affair. Even if I do ask another for advice, they would usual take your card (gets paid) and take you for a nice stroll around the park....only if you're lucky. If they are in a bad mood, they would tell you to basically love make your way out their nice shinny door and question you if you TRUST your OWN DOCTOR.

    That's what I got today for getting a second opinion on my diabetes question, and yes, I am still a bit angry. Tell me, did you as a doctor get all your medical facts from ONE SOURCE!? Your medication from one pharmacist? Your groceries from ONE STORE? And if you ever do go to another supermarket did the CASHIER tell your husband/wife that you had shopped at ANOTHER super-market and said you didn't TRUST their produce!? It's times like this, you know that at least "Internet-ting" myself back to good health doesn't seem so bad. At least I don't have to deal with rude doctors and bad accusations. I should thank "Ooogle for all the information and Heatholine for all their care"...... Does an average citizen need to resolve in solving their own health problems through web pages?

    Than it dawned on me that doctors are somewhat like "The Mighty Being". They have absolute control over your life. You can't have other doctors while you believe in "This Being" and if you do ask for advice from another religiously believed "Being", you might get stoned to death with words.

    I'm not too sure, but it does seem paying for services might be a good alternative. At least patients can now have a choice in choosing who they want as their doctors. Maybe then these all mighty beings will too realize that we are not just humans, we're also customer in many sense. Don't get me wrong. I am not rich, and barely making a living. But if it means I can get quality professional answers and help by giving these mighty beings the paycheck they want....than that is what I will have to give.

    If other professions requires one to be always smiling and work well with others, why are doctors excluded from this rule? I work hard day in and day out paying my taxes to pay for these services. Waiting hours for a doctor (mine is a 3 hours wait, but I still love him), I don't think a snob/rude/all mighty being is who I want to see to ruin the rest of my miserable work day...or any other days (Speaking of the other doctor that I had tried to get a second opinion from).


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