Friday, May 18, 2007

do's and don'ts for health care professionals

Do introduce yourself (I once had a doctor come into a room and start writing on my chest without introducing himself).

Don't look horrified when I tell you I have metastatic breast cancer.

Do ask my permission before turning my test/appointment/treatment into a lesson for a student.

Don't talk about me as though I am not in the room.

Don't ask me questions about my treatment that are irrelevant to the procedure being performed and/or outside your sphere of knowledge.

Don't tell me about your aunt/friend/cousin who was unsuccessfully treated for cancer.

Don't tell me that the above mentioned aunt/friend/cousin was unsuccessfully treated with one of the drugs I have told you has been part of my regimen.

Do thank me for my patience, especially if the test/treatment/procedure took twice as long as it normally would because you are still learning how to do it.


Anonymous said...

Okay, it scares me that an average person would do any of those things, but someone who is supposed to be a professional...that's just shocking. It's all just basic common sense. I'm sorry that even one person that you've had to see didn't have common sense, and it's lousy that there's been more than one. I guess that's why it's good to occasionally have those smooth God-complex surgeons - it's like a date with an expert who knows all the right things to say.

Hey, I had an echocardiogram too! Hmmm, I think I'm supposed to schedule myself for another. It wasn't bad at all, because the guy who did it was super nice and we just chatted about nonsense the whole time. Nonetheless, I have a heart murmur. It freaked me out when they told me, but then I found out that lots of people have them. Anyway, I hope your ECG was as pleasant an experience as mine was.

Anonymous said...

That totally sucks. Some docs need a whole course in people skills while they are in med school. Maybe you could send what you wrote in a letter to the doctor -- they need to know better.

laurie said...

It was unfortunately my echo that prompted me to write this piece. It was not my first one (I have them regularly because Herceptin is hard on the heart). This was at a different hospital from the others, though.

And, Suze, I definitely agree that a course on bedside manner and empathy is definitely in order.

blurdom said...

It really is the luck of the draw, isn't it? Sometimes you get some real winners, and makes your skin crawl, how out of touch these people can be.

I'm hoping your echo went well, despite the administration of it by the Angel of Death's idiot child, 'Doctor Oblivious'. Grrrrrr!!!