Sunday, October 17, 2004

What happened to compassion?

This entry was prompted by a response to a comment I left at Val's Place.  She has been dealing with an illness for three years and has encountered some difficult issues along the way.  I am happy to report that she writes she is doing better and things are working accordingly.      However, she cannot seem to get her questions answered.  This is what I wrote to her entry:    

I'm Getting Better!
Comment from: childebrand1968
"I am so happy things are working properly and giving you some relief.  You are owed answers to why the shunt on your chart was different than the one they put in, if the shunt you have is safe for the same amount of time, etc.  I've worked in the field long enough to know the more questions you ask and get answered, the better off you'd be.  Be persistent, call, write, email until you get your answers..... you deserve them.   Doctors work for us, we don't get sick to keep them in business.  Get a little obnoxious if you have to, just get your questions answered.  

Hope things keep improving!!

And she responded:    


 Cat,   You are correct in what you say about my deserving answers.  I was tired there for awhile and was seeing if the other docs could retrieve the answers for me.  They did not.  Your comment here made me realize that I deserve more!  I am determined to call and write and be obnoxious!  I will find out what happened and why!  I will let you know!  Thanks so much for this kind and encouraging and enlightening comment!  Hugs and have a good day! Val  xox    


So... you know my brain immediately started thinking... where did the compassion go?  What happened to taking time to know your patient?  Making sure said patient is satisfied and comfortable in their choices?   Wasn't there a time when doctors ate dinner the families they treated and accepted whatever one could give?  It wasn't that long ago... really. 


I know medical advances have come a long way since then.  I know that we, as patients, pay for supplies, equipment, wages, utilities, and miscellaneous items.  I get why we pay what we do (don't even get me started on pharmaceutical companies, again!). But I do not understand how that affects compassion. 


Most kids heading into medical school say it is because they want to help people.  A guess would be they spend so much time in school and working their way up the fellowship ladder (docs with tenure are fellows), that their desire to help people is replaced by meeting large amount of patient quotas in the shortest amount of time possible.  Doesn't help the personal matters much, does, it?     


 I am not saying all doctors lose their sense when it comes to empathy, I happen to have a great doctor... but I searched long and hard.  Made several trips to other places, and met with a dozen before finding her.  She didn't criticize my lifestyle or demean me, she sat there with me as long as I had questions.  My OB was great, too..... I got lucky because I had to go to the state hospital clinic, so I didn't have the option of choosing or changing. Whewww.  


 Maybe it is that doctors have to pay for all their malpractice insurance (which is more than double (or more, like OB docs) what most families make in a year, maybe longer.  It is outrageous, Medical Malpractice Insurance.  I get the politics, which is why I got out.  To meet this debt, it requires them to see more patients which takes time away from you or me and our problems.     


 I have sat in a waiting room as long as an hour before. I only got 20 minutes in the exam room, wondering why the office staff didn't stagger the appointment times to longer intervals.... because there's too many patients to be seen in a day,or someone may take longer than usual.  So why not be prepared for that and give the doc more time with each patient just in case?  Ugh!   


All compassion is not lost in the medical field either, but it is found more at the bottomof the ranks than at the top (isn't that how it always seems to go?).  I find the most in Emergency Medicine Technicians and Paramedics (we have some great ones in J-Land).  Next would the ER..though it is a pretty quick trip considering.  Nurses, well, there are some who have it and some who don't, and sometimes it depends on the situation.     


So, what is deal with your doctors?  Do you like yours, do they listen and help?  Share your thoughts!    


Happy you're feeling better Val!!  




visionarydiva1 said...

Compassion is not only gone when it comes to doctors it is in alot of us. I agree with everything that is said in this entry. I have walked into a doc's office and the receptionist didn't even acknowledge that I was standing there. I had to be like HELLOOOO I have an appointment. In my old doctor's office ppl (nurses) would walk in and out of my room. They didn't know if I was in there undressing or what. Or they would walk in while the doctor was with me to ask him what he wants to order for lunch? The last time I was at this doctors office I had an appointment for 10 a.m. When I got there it was crowded and I knew it was going to take a long time. 2 of my kids were being seen. By 12 noon I still hadn't been seen. Then at about 12:30ish I was called back. I was standing in the doorway of the room when the doctor says hello to me and then goes to the receptionist and tells her that he is going to drive to the hospital for some lunch. I got so upset. I told him that he no longer had me or my family as patients. It's as if they don't think our time is valuable too. It is a ashamed and I really can't explain it.

redbaranjj said...

Its very sad what has happen in the "medical world" ... very sad.  I saw so much happen when my husband Grampa got so sick and then every answer but the REAL ones...anything to walk around the subject...the family believes what happen shouldn't have and who do you trust now a days...the doc or your instincts.
Another reason the docs are so distant and non and malpractice insurance on their end.  Insurance companys now tell the doc what he can and can't do according to how "covered" the patient is.  And docs are afraid to make a move in fear of getting sued.  Some...they do it for the money...not to "help" anyone but their own pockets.

valphish said...

This is a wonderful and thought-provoking entry, Cat.  I have seen so many doctors in the last ten years it is incredible.  My personal physician is absolutley fabulous.  She has even cried with me.  She never makes me feel that I am just a number.  My phsychiatrist is also fabulous.  I never have to wait and she makes me feel as if she is concerned about every aspect of my life.  It seems as if the further up they go in specialty the more nurses and secretaries and such are involved.  I think this is where I am having problems.  When I need a surgeon or a specialist, they are so busy with so many other patients that I have to call back so many times and almost scream to get attention.  This happens with the teaching hospitals and universities and such.  The ones where I feel like I am just a number.  When I see the actual surgeon or neurologist I feel like they are very concerned with me.  The nurses and transcriptionists and secretaries and such are the ones getting little money and making the mistakes.  I believe that they are forced to get as many people in in as little time.  People become numbers by this time.  Facts go unchecked.  Workers give problems to "the other person".  I am not sure what can be done except to watch out for yourself.  Thanks for your kind words for my wellness, Cat!! Hugs to you!