Are Doctors Nice Enough?

This entry was posted by Tuesday, 31 December, 2013
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Funny cartoon about a "caring" doctor.



WHY are doctors so arrogant and uncaring !!!

“They just speak to you about your symptoms for 5 seconds then prescribe you medication for the wrong diagnosis without first checking you out!!! I’M SICK OF THEM, then they complain that you’re a hypochondriac because they weren’t able to treat you for the same problem in the first place!!! 
They ignore your real symptoms and only derive what they wrongly think is causing your troubles.”   – from a Yahoo Pain Management forum



Doctors should be “caring”.

Every day. Every minute.

Does it really matter if it’s been a long horrible day for the doctor? Isn’t a patient entitled to a dose of sympathy along with whatever treatment is prescribed?

Once upon a time, when doctors carried black bags, they clucked over you constantly. They were sympathy machines.

“My, my. That looks just terrible!,” they would say.

In those day, doctors were your best friend. They knew all the kids. they knew you before you got married. They knew your secrets. They were very wise.

Why did they cluck over you so much?

What else would he or she (oh let’s stop this she crap – it was always a he) do? A stem cell transplant? I don’t think so. They offered sympathy because, often,  it’s all they had to give.

I have to ask. Does this  still make sense?

You’re talking to a stranger. A busy, busy stranger. You’re the 18th patient and there are two waiting in other rooms while you get seen. I know you feel bad. I know a little sympathy would be nice. But can we be realistic for a minute? That guy doesn’t even like you. You’re not his friend. He’s trying to fix what’s wrong with you, okay? Isn’t that what should matter?

I’m just asking.

Evidently, doctors buy into this emotional fraud because I’m looking at an article from the journal Health Expectations which aims to teach doctors how to speak the language of compassion.

Oh boy! The language of compassion! If you don’t feel it, at least learn to sound like you do.

Ronald Epstein, M.D.( University of Rochester, Center for Communication and Disparities Research) was the lead guy.  He worked with a group of oncologists, studying how they interacted with  some very sick patients.  They  worked on tone of voice, ways of expressing tenderness and understanding, and so on. Non-verbal communication too. Were the pauses and sighs right? The pitch? The tone? Metaphorical language? You really don’t want to choose a clumsy metaphor.

Here’s the thing.

The physicians who are involved in this stuff ARE  caring. They’re putting themselves through all this because they want things to be good for their patients. They know it sucks to be sick and they want, somehow, to be more comforting.

But there’s a risk.

“Getting the script right” can be dangerous. People sense it when you aren’t “real”. It can backfire. I’ve worked with doctors most of my professional life and, honestly? I think they’re great. Not one real clunker among the many I know.

MISTER ScienceAintSoBad thinks the emoting can be overdone.

Fix the disease.

That’s good enough for me.

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The drawing is mine.

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