A spot of Dr bashing

I suppose that it comes with no surprise that those of us who live with chronic illness, aren’t immune to the odd spell of “Doctor Bashing”. Let me point out here, that the word “Bashing” is being used in the verbal connotation, not the physical one. It’s not that we don’t appreciate, the things they do to makes us feel better, or that all of us, blame them directly, for either our health or for the fact they can’t fix it. No, I believe that it’s far more complex than that. Without a doubt, the majority of patients, that any family doctor sees in one day, will be those who are living with one chronic illness, or another. We are the people who fill their waiting rooms, mainly quite justifiable. Of course, take a cross-section of the public, and you will find some needy people, as many of them, as of those with more resilience will become ill. But the majority, will be there with genuine concern about some part of their health. Despite what some people think, the majority of us, actually don’t want to be going to see our doctors yet again, than anyone else does, but we can’t avoid them. We have over the lifetime of our problems, met every type of doctor possible. From the gushing, over caring and almost suffocating, right down to the cold couldn’t give a damn, “what are you doing here annoying me?”, pain in the necks. We have had to deal with the doubters, the dismissive, the converts and the know it alls. There isn’t a personality type of doctor that we haven crossed paths with and that is where our problem begins.

Personality and medical know how, aren’t the same thing. If you have been battling with your health for years, the thing we all look for is, the Dr who seems to understand what we are going through. The Dr who empathises and is eager to help us, someone who is going to go the extra mile. Unfortunately, this can mean that we latch onto the person who we like, rather than the Dr who can actually help. I know we all like to believe that our family Doctor, knows everything, sorry, but they don’t. Think about it, why do they send us scurrying to the hospital to see someone else? If they knew everything, they would order the tests and diagnosis us themselves. Yes, they can order every and any test you can think of. We don’t have to see a consultant, to get an MRI, our GP can order them too. The thing is, though, we don’t choose our family doctors because of their prowess with a scalpel, we choose them because we like them. We chose him because he can get the best out of our kids, Granny raves about him and you’re happy to sit and chat to him. Ask yourself, what does that sound closest to, to you? A well qualified professional, or a friend? Did you investigate all the medical practises in the area, or did you choose thanks to a recommendation from your neighbours, or worse still, because it was the one closest to your house? I have known an awful lot of really nice people, very few, really good Doctors. Having found this jolly good chap, we then slag them off for their first tiny little thing that we disagree with. We don’t talk to him about it, that would be disrespectful, after all, he’s our Doctor. No, we moan and grown about him to anyone else out there who might just listen, and so our “Doctor Bashing”, begins.

Chronic illness, of course, means we scurry off to the hospital a lot more frequently than other lesser mortals. We are there with laborious frequency, prodded and poked at by stranger after stranger, foist upon us by the NHS. There is no choice, no selection, we need a consultant in this or that field, and that’s what we get, the next one available. This time, Granny didn’t recommend them, no one can tell you what his favourite aftershave is, he is a total stranger, and we all know about “stranger danger”. We do our homework, we investigate everything we can about what we are going to see them about, as well, we don’t know how good a Doctor they are. If we don’t arm ourselves with the details, if we don’t have every angle covered, well who knows what might happen. We might let this well-educated person, way beyond our half an hour online, to actually do their job. Think about it, if you had spent 7 years at university, another 10 or so years at least, working alongside experts to hone your skills, before being given the accolade of “Consultant”, wouldn’t you get your hackles up slightly in having to deal with your 10th internet master of the day. But most don’t, they give a rye smile, a sigh and get on with the constant battle of proving just what they know. All too many don’t take kindly to the fact that our internet revelation hasn’t been greeted with shock and adoration, that they weren’t totally impressed, rather than crestfallen. Then leave muttering, “He wasn’t even listening to me” and once more the “Doctor Bashing” begins.

All of us are sheepish, scared and uncertain until we get that diagnosis, the thing that all this Doctor visiting was originally about. When you don’t know what’s wrong with you, it’s hard to be anything else. If we’re lucky, it is a straightforward process, weeks or at worst months, for others it’s years. Imagine how many Doctors you see in years of trying to find out what is wrong with you. Now imagine what that does to how you see Doctors, how you see yourself and how they see you. You have tried every tactic, approached each meeting in a slightly different manner in case, just in case, it’s you not them, but you have a growing belief that it’s them. It’s hard to not let that show, to not get their hackles up from the very first “Hello”. The more Doctors we see, the less we believe, the more returners they see, the less they believe. The vortex is tightening and our intensifying “Doctor Bashing” that evening, is probably equal to their “Frequent Flier Bashing”, both deeply misplaced. With luck, the light bulb eventually lights, they and you, know what is wrong, so it should be an easy jog from then on, shouldn’t it? You jest, it’s only just begun.

Firstly, we want them to cure us, they can’t, then we want the pain gone, it’s not, we want to feel better but we don’t. The opportunities for misunderstandings, disappointment and disbelief, has just begun. What we expect from our Doctors is nothing short of miracles, what we get is a dull reality that can never match up. There always has been and always will be a wide mix of good, bad and indifferent Doctors, just as there is a wide mix of good, bad and indifferent patients. That Doctor you quite simply can’t stand, who for the life of you, you can’t understand how they ever even got the title Dr., is the identical person to the one, the patient before you, raves about. Unfortunately, “Doctor Bashing” has little to do with our doctors medical ability, rather than their ability to read us, be nice to us and to send us on our way saying “What a jolly nice chap or chapess”. Is it really a wonder that the biggest problem of the time, is the overuse of antibiotics? Show me the person who doesn’t want to take a know it all, loud mouthed person and shut them up and out of our sight as fast as possible. That person demanding the drug they believe is the answer to their health or their child’s health, are all too often these days abusive and intimidating. It takes a strong person to tell them they are wrong and their not getting it. It is just the same, be it a painkiller or the drug that will keep them alive for the another 6 months. Our Doctors can’t win and personally, I think that is all wrong.

At one time, we all had a true repect for our Doctors. I agree, putting them on the pedistals they once lived on, was possible going to far. But from what I hear and have even seen, I think we have gone too far the other way. For any of us, who have ever worked in a customer facing role, we know just how hard the public can be to handle. If you try to add in, that the person is ill, worried or possible terrified, without a doubt, those people are going to be even harder to deal with. I put my hand up, yes I have entered into the odd spell of “Doctor Bashing”, although, I would say in my defence, it is the odd spot and always short lived. I am human, we all get involved in “People Bashing”, it’s one of our weaknesses. In general, I am more than grateful for what my Doctors have done for me over the last 14 years, but clearly I understand what sparks it. The next time though before I or you do such a thing, just think first, are you “Bashing” the profession, the person or possibly, yourself? It’s always worth checking.

 

Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 09/12/2013 – Beaten up and waiting

I have no problem remembering what I am going to write about today as I can still feel it. I woke yesterday from my afternoon nap with both my thighs in spasm, that for me is a really odd thing………

16 thoughts on “A spot of Dr bashing

  1. IT’S NOT THEIR FAULT OR OURS.SOME THINGS JUST CAN’T BE FIXED. MY DOCTOR WAS THE ONLY AVAILABLE ONE IN MY WHOLE PROVINCE. I DIDN’T THINK THAT I NEEDED TO LOOK UP HER CRIMINAL RECORD. SHE WAS CHARGED WITH SPOUSAL NEGLECT.HER SPOUSE WAS DYING. SHE LEFT HER ALONE, AND SHE WAS HURT.THEN A DOCTOR WHO NEGLECTED HER SICK SPOUSE, TOOK HER OVER THE BORDER TO CANADA AND VOILA!! MY GOVERNMENT LET HER PRACTICE. WHILE SHE CLEARED UP HER LEGAL BATTLE, WHICH SHE LOST. SHE LOST HER SPOUSE; BUT IS STILL ABLE TO MAKE LIFE DECISIONS ABOUT ME AND MANY OTHERS. THAT’S NOT BASHING. I’M BEING NICE.IT’S FACT ON PRINT AND POLICE FILES AND I’M STUCK WITH HER BECAUSE CANADA HAS NO DOCTORS.I COULD GO ON, BUT THEN IT WOULD BE “BASHING” ((PHYSICAL IF I COULD))THERE’S MORE………

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  2. I’m a little confused about your ‘bashing’ this a.m. I dont want a doctor who will coddle me or who empathizes with me I want one who listens to the latest research on my condition which is known as cfs here in the U.S. and since there are no specialist for CFS my GP is who I see every single month there are five physicians at this clinic I could see two of them that attend my church regularly I don’t because I want to keep it as professional as possible.

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    • I am with you, I don’t want to be coddled either, in fact, I would go further than you, I try hard to not see any doctors, unless I have to. I have gone years without seeing any, just the odd phone call. But many people do want empathy, the most common thing I have ever heard, is “my doctor doesn’t understand what it is like”, or “how it effects me”. We all have our quirks in our relationship with out GP’s. I for one, will only speak to one of them, as I can’t stand female doctors. In general, they are too gushy, treat you like a child and want to tell you all about side effects and so on, which I don’t care about.

      A lot of people, as I explained, think they know better than their doctors. What is either wrong with them, or what treatment they require. They don’t like it when this doesn’t happen. So they bad mouth, or “bash” (which is a slang word for it) them. I have come across many who say this doctor or that is rubbish, because they didn’t get what they wanted. Some expect them to be able to read their minds, as they omit to give the full picture, just telling them what they think is needed to diagnose or treat them. For example, complaining about pain, is useless without explaining the nature, location and if it exists, triggers.

      After years of talking to people with chronic illness, I have spotted this and all I put in my post and more. Yet it is somehow all blamed on the Dr. As I said, they are people, as complex as ourselves and how our consultation goes, is a two-way street. We might be as likely to be the ones at fault, as the doctor, if things don’t turn out as expected. People are too ready to blame doctors for their health, rather than looking to themselves.

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      • I TOO, ONLY SEE THE DOCTOR, MAYBE ONCE A YEAR..I EVEN PUT OFF TESTS WITH CONSULTANTS, BECAUSE MY LIST IS STARTING TO LOOK LIKE YOURS, AND I JUST DON’T WANT TO KNOW ANYMORE. MY HOUSE IS A PHARMACY AND I’M THE DRUG TESTER.

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      • I dont have a choice I HAVE to go to Dr every month to get meds refilled they cant refill over phone or fax by law you dont know how lucky you are

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      • Every country has is differences. A phone call make sense, not just for you, but also your doctor. Just think how much time he would have, if he didn’t have to write every repeat with the patient there. Also, you’d save a fortune in travel expenses. I would have to have an ambulance collect me and take me back. If I were mobile, it would cost me £16 for the round trip. That feeds Adam and I for 3 to 4 days! If you were unable to attend, is there a way of by passing the system?

        Here, we don’t even speak to our doctors for a repeat. My husband talks to the receptionist, gives her the list, she prints them and doctor signs them. The chemist collects the prescription, fills it and delivers it, all free of charge. It makes life so much easier, which is something, I am in favour of always 🙂

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    • YOUR CONFUSION IS CLEAR. YOU ARE AMERICAN.IN AMERICA YOU PAY FOR HEALTHCARE. YOU CHOOSE THE DOCTOR HE DOES HIS/HER JOB AND THEN YOU PAY THEM. IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED; YOU TAKE YOUR BUSINESS ELSEWHERE. IN CANADA,U.K AND PARTS OF EUROPE,YOU DON’T PAY/ AND YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. WHATEVER IS AVAILABLE.MY DOCTOR(FROM TEXAS), CROSSED THE CANADIAN BORDER; BUT WAS STILL CHARGED WITH BOTH PHYSICAL AND MEDICAL NEGLECT OF HER SPOUSE. SHE IS WHAT MY GOVERNMENT THINKS IS BEST FOR SOMEONE WHO IS TERMINALLY ILL. SO, SHE ALMOST KILLS HER SPOUSE, YET SHE CAN MAKE LIFE THREATENING DECISIONS FOR ME AND MANY LIKE ME. OH, 1 MORE THING. MY ALLERGY TO ASPIRIN IS SEVERE; GUESS WHAT PUT ME IN THE HOSPITAL LAST WEEK? THIS IS FACT/ NOT BASHING.

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    • DEAR MR. KUHL; I AM NOT LUCKY. MY MEDS ARE REPEATED DAILY.IF I WANT THEM, I HAVE TO TURN A BLIND EYE TO THE FACT THAT MY GOVERNMENT TOOK AWAY MY DOCTOR’S O.H.I.P(MEDICAL CARD), BECAUSE SHE IS EXILED FROM TEXAS FOR CRIMINAL NEGLECT….BUT CAN PRACTICE HERE BECAUSE WE ARE THAT DESPERATE FOR DOCTORS.SO EVERY DAY, SHE LET’S MY DAUGHTER PICK UP MY PRESCRIPTION; ALONG WITH HER MEDICATION. YES IT IS ILLEGAL.IT’S ALSO ILLEGAL HERE TO FAX OR PHONE TOO. BUT EVERY DAY MY PRESCRIPTION IS MISSING 2 THINGS, THAT SHE POCKETS. SOUND UNBELIEVABLE?? I’M ONLY TELLING YOU PART OF THE PROBLEM………AS FOR THE ONE EYED MONSTER (PRINCESSF$^) AND “SHEESH”; MEANS YOU ARE EITHER A DOCTOR OR NOT CHRONICALLY/TERMINALLY ILL; JUST A SINGLE MINDED INDIVIDUAL, WITH NO LIFE EXPERIENCES.

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  3. I was extremely interested in what you have written about our varying approaches to our doctors. The point you made about the doctor who has become a friend rather than someone who can help leapt out at me. But in my case I’m grateful for this ‘friend’ at least they listen. This is my GP by the way. I have a very rare and weird heart condition . One that even the top Electrophysiologist in London still says they can’t really help, don’t know the cause of. It took 12 years to get a diagnosis , many drug tries ( none of which work) heart op ( made things worse by causing other issues). I still try to not be an ‘Internet Warrior’ with facts. But sadly in my case due to admin negligence I have had to make formal complaints just to get an appointment or to be re-found in the system. Does this mean they then care or try to help more? No! Actually what it’s done is make them more aggressive and less helpful or understanding, now they don’t even listen. I have to carry my notes around every hospital I go to. I do this not because I think I know more but because I HAVE to due to bad admin and lack of back up care. I am only too aware I can’t be fixed. But I have tried desperately not to doctor bash or be negative. I didn’t ask to be ill. We are all frightened in a hospital or GP waiting room. We are people not machines. All I want is empathy but all I get due to this rare condition is a strong sense of ‘fobbing off’. The day a doctor listens to me as a whole person, whose illness is now causing other physical illness. Isolation. …etc I will probably fall off my chair.
    Interesting article thank you

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  4. A very thought provoking post. If I don’t count the pregnancy consults, I have consulted doctors only 10-12 times in the past 20 years. Each of the first 6 times for serious spinal issues (including partial paralysis of leg). No one ever examined me in any great detail (regarding the over all body alignment, hypermobile joints, other tell tale signs of the underlying disease, etc.) and they all told me I had to “keep exercising” for the relentless and persistent symptoms. I was not asked to take off a single piece of clothing for any of the clinical examinations. That was how thorough the examinations were! The 7th was for the worst pain of my life that I had been facing for two straight years along with a host of other symptoms that didn’t make sense and the doctor was very annoyed that I spoke for ten minutes (I had 7 minutes for talking out of the allotted 15) and refused to examine me as I already had taken all her time. She did not even touch me. She however, did write a referral to a rheumatologist who gave me my diagnosis (8th and 9th). 10th was for a focal dystonia of hand – I saw a neurologist who diagnosed it. There was one throat consult once (very dismissive and arrogant but medically correct) and once for asthma prescription meds. So, for me, many of the doctors I consulted did not diagnose me correctly and did not examine me correctly. A couple were dismissive. Most of them were well-spoken and courteous, but just did not believe my concerns about the severity or persistence of problems. Do my opinions about my experience during the consultations amount to unfair doctor bashing?

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    • Not in any way, it is your opinion of how you were treated, but, and it’s just a small but, in your first comment in my post “Reactions” you noted that you can’t tell who else may also be ill. What if those doctors were also themselves in pain or unwell in some way? I’m not defending them, as you will have noticed, I to don’t think much of my care was exactly correct, professional and polite, but not correct. I am more than willing to “bash” them when I think required, but I do look back and wonder, what if? after all they are human 🙂

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