“I Hate Doctors”
A visitor came today to my blog from Google with the search words “I hate doctors”. While, I don’t know the true motivation and concern of this visitor, I think that this visitor’s search terms are consistent with the ambivalent feeling people have about doctors. Whether it is fair to characterize this ambivalence in the extremes of “love” and “hate” or some more moderate terms can be considered but obviously the ambivalence is a realistic phenomenon.
Why are we loved? Is it because, even if we cannot always meet the patient’s desires, we have a potential of bringing hope to the patient? Is it because most of us radiate a feeling of care and understanding? Patients may start out shaking our hands but there are times later on in the relationship when they actually hug us. Why are they doing that? Is it to show we really are connected emotionally and spiritually?
Why are we hated? Is it because we are the ones who find the bad spots in the patient’s body and give the bad news? Is it because some of us don’t live up to the patient’s expectations either in competency, thoughtfulness or concern? Is it because some of us still exude a paternalistic smell in a consumer and patient autonomous atmosphere?
Why are we both loved and hated? Is it because each patient, their condition and their experience both with illness and doctors are different? Is it because doctors are human and have their ups and down cognitively and emotionally and this may vary their appearance towards the patient?
To whatever degree we are either loved, hated or both, here is the takeaway message: this response of our patients should be a marker that we should not ignore. By paying attention to the patient’s words and behavior toward us as a kind of feedback regarding our own words and behavior, we may learn about our practice and ourselves and perhaps improve. We all remember being graded in residency, medical school and earlier by our teachers. Now as we practice medicine, we should remember we are still being graded but by our patients and their families and be prepared to learn from it. ..Maurice.
AS OF DECEMBER 22 2008 THIS THREAD WILL BE CLOSED FOR ALL COMMENTS. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO WRITE ANY FURTHER COMMENTS HERE. PLEASE GO TO "I HATE DOCTORS":CHAPTER 2 TO CONTINUE COMMENTS. ..Maurice.