Looks like it's shaping up to be a more personal blogging day. But that's okay, right? You guys love me for more than my wonky, right? That's what I thought.
The New York Times continues today with its series on being a patient in the United States (am I the only one who finds their choice of topics a bit strange and the series fairly weak?) Today they've zeroed in on the mean nasty doctor:
Ms. Wong had come across a bane of the medical profession: the difficult doctor. These doctors may be arrogant or rude, highhanded or dismissive. They drive away patients who need help, and some have been magnets for malpractice claims.Strange subject matter, it may be, but something I have years of experience with. I could go on and on about the nasty doctors I've encountered in my eons of patientdom, but I'll focus on one, because it was a fairly formative experience for me.
And while such doctors have always been part of medicine, medical organizations say they fear that they are increasingly common - doctors, under pressure to see more patients, are spending less and less time with each one and are replacing long discussions with laboratory tests and scans - and that most problem doctors apparently have no idea of their patients' opinions of them.
When I was young I suffered from chronic sinus infections. I went to see an ear nose and throat specialist who determined that I should have my aednoids removed and the holes of my sinuses widened for better drainage. (Sounds like a ball, right? I have these hilarious pictures of me holding frozen peas on my nose after surgery.) The doctor possessed an awkward bedside manner that suggested he didn't see many people under 18 and wasn't quite sure what to do with them. That, and his first name was "Festus". Festus [last name] III. The third! That poor man.
In any case, in one of my appointments I told him that I wanted to be a doctor. This declaration led to an extensive diatribe on how medicine is "different" these days, how it's just a "business" now, how he has no time to see patients, how it's horrible and I don't want to do that.
Needless to say, this conversation upset me. Here I was expecting praise and declarations of how noble the profession is, etc, and I got the exact opposite. But it also made a major impact, and it was the first time that anyone (doctor or no) had spoken honestly and with flourish to me about all the problems in medicine. Was it the catalyst that led me to a health policy career? Probably not. But hearing about the problems straight from the doctor's mouth made me think a little differently about my future career.
So, what's your mean nasty doctor story?