Skip to comments.The Doctor Will See You for Exactly Seven Minutes
Posted on 03/23/2006 3:47:56 PM PST by neverdem
WHEN politicians speak of America's health care needs, they often miss an important point: the doctor-patient relationship has become frayed. Patients aren't unhappy just because health care costs too much (though they would certainly like it to be more affordable). Rather, people sense a malaise within the system that has eroded the respect they feel patients deserve.
There has been a shift in attitude within the profession. I see examples of it every day. I was making rounds in my intensive care unit recently when one of the interns presented a case. "This is the first admission for this 55-year-old male," he said.
"Stop," I said. "He is a man."
"That's what I said," the intern replied.
"Not exactly," I answered. Clearly, the intern didn't get it. Neither do a lot of other health care professionals anymore.
The problem has been sneaking up on us for almost two decades. As health-care dollars became scarce in the 1980's and 90's, hospitals asked their business people to attend clinical meetings. The object was to see what doctors were doing that cost a lot of money, then to try and do things more efficiently. Almost immediately, I noticed that business jargon was becoming commonplace. "Patients" began to disappear. They were replaced by "consumers." They eventually became "customers."
This may seem a trivial matter, but it is not. You treat "patients" as if they were members of your family. You talk to them. You comfort them. You take time to explain to them what the future may hold in store. Sometimes, that future will be bleak. But you assure them you will be there to help them face it.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Well, at least we're not in Canada where the doctor will see you...some time 13 months from now...if you're still alive.
A couple years back I went to an ENT specialist on referral from my primary physician. The doctor, who had a train of interns in tow, was in my room MAYBE sixty seconds. When I got up front, I looked at my "checkout" sheet, the one where they mark the various items you owe for. There were three levels of office visit listed: BRIEF, FULL, and EXTENDED. He had marked EXTENDED, for which the charge was something like $180. About the time I noticed it, the doctor and his entourage o'interns came back by and I came unglued.
I still can't get over how every TV commercial for a drug of any kind says, "Tell your doctor if you have liver problems" or something similar.
Shouldn't the doctor be telling ME whether or not I have liver problems? And if I *do* have liver problems, why in the heck isn't that already in my file when he sees me?
I have liver problems, hep c, and I cant count the times my dr has given me meds he shouldnt have. I would have to ask him if it was ok for my liver. At which he would say I am the DR here not you. I swear all that man wanted to do was give me paxil and zoloft even thought I am not depressed. I wouldn't even bring depression up. I finally asked some neighbors who use him too and they told me the same thing. I am so glad I left there. And it felt really good to call up and tell him just why I was leaving. He was very upset to see 5 of us leave.
Well, it was actually an orthoscope down the throat, so there was non cutting involved. However, it was described as a surgical procedure (and certainly seemed to be treated as such).
That's really too bad. Although with severe stomach pain, an ER visit is appropriate, you should try to avoid taking a child to an ER; it's best to see a Pediatrician (unless the child is critically ill or has a traumatic injury).
There's absolutely nothing wrong with having your child see a resident (I know; I work in a resident-based pediatric clinic). The only disadvantage (other than if you don't get a good doc) is that they leave after 3 years, and you end up getting a new doc. However, the advantage of that is that you're getting someone who has never seen your child, and may pick up on something the other may have missed.
When a doctor cops that attitude, that is a big red flag to tell you "switch to another doctor".
This happens in large cities alot. In the hospital where I pracitce you would have been seen within 10 min or less and that IV Morphine would have been in your vein within another 15 minutes. You should see how quick we are if you have Chest Pain. There are not enough Emergency rooms in large cities. I would have to be dying to go to one. I will never forget my time spent training in Dade County Hospital in Miami. Awful, horrible makes me shudder.
We just had our last visit (normal checkup) with our son's doctor. She advised us to pick another doctor who is early in their residency. We have to choose male or female.
That is why I use an FNP. Better than doctors any day.
Yes, the office staff should have let you know the doc was running behind. When I get hung up at the hospital before I get to the office I always call my staff and tell them to lets folks know I'm running late and to give them my best guess as to when I'll get there.
But to compare the medical field and trying to keep to a set time schedule (depending on specialty) is impossible. I can't tell you how many times I, as an Internist, have had a patient crashing, have to intubate them and spend another hour with them in the ICU either at morning rounds, or when I have to admit someone to the ICU in the middle of a full schedule. It's a very unpredictable field. When someone hits the ER with an acute illness that requires my immediate attention, the patients on my schedule in the office will have to wait, or reschedule. Most understand this, as I always say, "If it's YOU having the heart attack, don't you want me there doing everything I can for you rather than seeing the person in my office?"
And there are many docs that have a family-like relationship with their patients. Most give me hugs and kisses when they see me. Of course, its hard to teach good bedside manner. Thats something your parents teach you, not a med school, no matter how hard they may try.
Maybe it's a Southern thing? ;)
I'm glad to say I live in a parish in South Louisiana with ZERO HMO capitated plans that do exactly as you say; pay doctors to NOT treat patients.
Many of my patients have my home phone number and emails, and I have rarely had that abused by any of them.
Of course, I live in a small town. They'd find me anyway. ;)
I hope you let your doctor know why you were leaving.
Wow, you're lucky. It's more like HALF down here have zero funding.
The day it goes over 50% is the day I retire. Moma didn't raise no fool...