Sunday, October 16, 2005

Why do patients put up with obnoxious doctors ?

I often hear horror tales about how rude some doctors are; and how unfeelingly and uncaringly they treat their patients. I have little sympathy with patients who go to such doctors, because I could never understand why they had to go a doctor who they felt was rude or uncaring, just because he was the "top guy in the field" . Couldn't they just go to someone else instead , who would treat them more compassionately ? It's only when I started reading Dr Robert Caldin's book, Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion, that I understood why patients continue to flock to certain doctors, no matter how bad their bedside manner was. Caldin talks about the six weapons of influence - reciprocity; consistency; social proof; liking; authority and scarcity. The reason why some "top" doctors are so busy that they simply cannot take good care of their patients, is because of the influence of "social proof" - our tendency to assume that an action is more correct if others are doing it. The logic is, " If he's such a busy doctor that there are so many patients who are waiting for so many hours to see him, he must be good !" Once I asked a patient why she was willing to wait for so many hours in a certain IVF specialist's waiting room, and her answer was an eye-opener - " Doctor, there are patients who come up in a Mercedes who wait for hours on end , so who I am to object ? " This is why some doctors prefer having full waiting rooms - so that they appear to be busy and popular - and presumably, competent as well, by extrapolation !

1 comment:

  1. Trisha9:42 AM

    My email is suz@debsts.com and I recently had a bad experience with a dr ...If you have the time please email me with suggestions as I am at my wits end with the health care profession...My Dr was rude to the point of calling me names and even sayin I was S.O.L.(shit out of luck) and that I should just move to Canada and that since I had no insurance I should try something else... Please respond.By the way he said he could write the check for my surgery but he would be broke and even prescribed meds that had severe risks combined. Why?

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