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Your health is in their hands.
But what if those hands drop you like a hot potato?
As children we are taught that there were three careers that you have to have an automatic respect for, those being teachers, police, and doctors.
We do not learn until we are older that both teachers and police are considered underpaid, while most doctors are substantially overpaid, that is after they pay off their student loans.
Speaking of school, they do spent a good chunk of their life in school and have the obligation to gain clinical experience with minimal compensation, working long hours as much as paid medical professionals do.
Considering the hefty schedule for medical professionals I do sympathize with doctors because they graduate from school with massive debts over their head while facing the incessant demands of both their hospital and patients.
However, that sympathy subsides after reflecting on the overall poor experiences that I personally have had.
Doctors In Training
Throughout college I have become acquainted with quite a few medical students and I have to say that the prospect of them becoming the kind and caring physician we all hope for was dismal. Two of which were my adjunct professors that openly expressed that they were only teaching the class in order to get easy money until a coveted residency opened up for them.
My fellow student reported to me that one adjunct professor had told her:
“It’s okay if you fail, you can always repeat this class.”
The other adjunct professor I had was just as complacent, allowing the accusation by a classmate that one of the students was cheating to be practically swept under the rug, only announcing to the class:
“If I am ever in an accident and I see you trying to help me or my little daughter I will not allow you to treat us.”
My immediate thought was:
If you are incapacitated then what?
You will be unable to refuse anyway and you will still be at the mercy of the student that you should have failed.
What a statement for her to make, though I doubt she really meant what she said.
Another medical student I knew was all about the paycheck. We worked together for a year and in all that time he would always announce how he could not wait to become a doctor and get the latest red hot sports car and huge house.
He never once said anything about caring for patients.
The stories only get worse if I continue. Sadly in both a professional and personal capacity the outcome of my dealings with physicians left a lot to be desired.
Others have far worse tales of actual physicians and medical professionals with gross incompetence in their treatment of patients and botched surgeries but that remains hearsay on my part. The only tales I will regale are from my own personal interactions with said medical students and professionals.
My Poor Experience
Growing up as an obese teen I faced a great deal of discrimination from doctors due to my weight. Granted my weight was a hazard because it was in fact morbid, but it was not the sole cause of the issue that turned out to be my autoimmune disorder.
The physician that actually came the closest to actually diagnose my Hidradenitis Suppurativa blamed solely my weight, claiming that if I lost 30-50 lbs that the boils would go away. This assumption was wrong, because I still had the boils after losing 100 lbs.
The same doctor that discriminated against my weight was correct in stating that I had a form of folliculitis, but he never bothered to provide a name for my disease or refer me to someone that would.
It is ironic because I later worked with that same doctor when I got older, but I acted as though I did not know him, because if I did I would have veered into being unprofessional by expressing to him my disappointment from our last interaction.
Though that physician was wrong for discriminating against my weight in the way he did, I do forgive him because his inability to provide answers motivated me to actively learn about my disease and put a name to it myself.
You have more control over your health than you think, but half of the power comes from how you encounter your physicians when their bedside manner is less than exceptional.
Here is what to do if a doctor does not care:
1) Do Not Give Up Hope
Believe it or not there are kind and caring physicians out there, though they are few and far between, good doctors that are capable, competent, and genuinely concerned do exist.
I wish that I had a doctor to recommend but sadly I do not as I tend to avoid physicians like the plague.
Through YouTube however there has been a group of physicians that have come forward like a shining beacon to shed further light on my specific disorder of Hidradenitis Suppurativa.
When I learned of their new site starting up I immediately signed up for their email list, which provided a free eBook and informative messages. They have sent a lot since I have signed up and I have had yet to read any of it, but I know when I do that it will be very beneficial to me.
In the future I hope that I can schedule an appointment with one of those doctors but they are incredibly far away from me.
The sad fact is that one must really search and venture at a long distance to find a doctor that finally understands, but it is so worth it to find an informative doctor that truly wants to help improve your life.
2) Seek A Second Opinion
Sometimes things are not as general or severe as one may be initially told. Many rely on the diagnosis of the doctor that they first speak to, but that knowledge that they have to offer may be limited.
There are many patients that continually return to that same doctor hoping that they may provide more information through tests and exams that will provide a more insight to a diagnosis.
If you are with a doctor that is adamant to use every resource in order to help you then you might very well be in capable hands. However if that is not the case, seeing a different physician entirely may be needed if the first physician makes no attempt to provide the answers that you seek.
I know of a person that was in a car accident some years ago and was initially diagnosed with a debilitating disease that would shorten their life. This information worsened the already present depression that the person had, causing a downward spiral of hopelessness.
It was only after many months of further studies that it was later discovered that the case was not as severe as initially thought, which brought a tremendous sigh of relief to everyone involved. This hope however was only brought forth due to acquiring a second opinion from other experts within that medical field.
Hope plays a tremendous factor in recovery from almost any illness. That emotion taps into this force inside of each one of us to carry on until we finally feel normal again.
While I have currently found doctors that have a better understanding of my specific disease, that has not always been the case.
If you are facing an illness that is rare with little understanding, finding a physician that can help you will be one of the toughest challenges you will ever face.
In my case I patiently waited out, after attempting a “second opinion” from 5-6 doctors of course. Each time I came a little closer, but for every step forward I took there was a price to pay.
Seeking a second opinion can be expensive depending on your healthcare, so consider all financial factors before you make your next appointment.
While healthcare appointments can be costly, the circumstances may provide a source of relief once you find someone who better answers your questions and is more helpful in understanding your condition.
3) Weigh-In Coworker Opinion
Yes a referral from your primary care physician is a good start, but the people that work with them on a daily basis know even better which doctors are better than others.
People that I know of that have been patients were the happiest when they knew full well that they were in capable hands.
Though the appointment at a hospital or practice can be tedious, be a good sport about it. Try to make the receptionist laugh or smile, you will make their day.
Do your best to be on friendly terms with the nurses, receptionists, and the lab techs since those are the professionals that are on the front lines. Those ones see and know first hand which patients leave happier than others.
Ask about them and how their health is, if they see the own doctor that they work for, this is a huge sign that they find the doctor trust-worthy. Take this with a grain of salt however, as some people are not always the best at determining ones’ character, but if that person seems to have a good head on their shoulders then you can assess how valuable their opinion is.
4) Gain Your Own Customer Reviews
Gain personal recommendations from actual people in your life that have dealt with your issues.
In my life I have a lot of friends that suffer from allergies and autoimmune disorders, which leads me to gain the name of their doctor and their reputation.
The easiest part of reviews is that you can learn who not to have as a doctor. The tough part is finding a wonderful doctor or surgeon because those are the ones that are seldom available.
Much easier options in finding reviews are actual online reviews. There are also chat rooms, boards, and internet posts where people offer up the names of doctors that they strongly for or against.
Definitely be wary of those though.
Online reviews are reliable to a point. In all honesty thus far I have found them to be mostly hit or miss.
Unfortunately I have been to professionals in both the medical field and business that did not meet those expectations and provided a bad experience.
My friends have given me glowing recommendations of physicians that turned out to be total duds.
Remember, despite how much you try things can still go wrong, your experience with them is your own.
Anyone can have a bad day or make a poor decision, and doctors are no exception.
5) Be Prepared
My best experiences with physicians have been when I came prepared to ask medical questions that I already know the answers to, it is a method that I use to test them in order to gauge how good of a doctor they are.
For example, a doctor once recommended I get an x-ray for a sprain. I asked him if it was necessary because I was concerned about the level of radiation. He responded by providing a percentage to assure me that it was minimal and helpful.
When a doctor provides a decent and mild response this helps me to better trust them.
Unfortunately when a doctor responds with an attitude or sarcasm, this exacerbates a terrible experience. The only bright side being that I know that I will never go there to be treated again.
Even if you have a decent doctor now, do not close your mind to having a backup.Over time doctors move or go on vacation, which can leave you in a lurch if you need to see someone right away.
Never pass up the chance to learn about another physician that you could go to instead. Doing so keeps you from feeling pressured to participate in treatments that you are not comfortable with. In a way this is also preparing you to get a second opinion if you feel the need to.
There is one person that I know of that went to one practice where the staff were incredibly rude. They went to a completely different practice and was treated exponentially better.
Do not think that you are stuck being a patient to the first practice you pick.
Hospitals have unfortunately turned into a business, but on the positive side that means that you have multiple options and alternatives to go to for better service.
The downside to shopping around is that you are still stuck with the bill whether you were properly treated or not, but there remains a comfort in knowing that you do not have to take mistreatment from anyone.
With healthcare now being a business, they have the same concern that a business has: return customers.
In fact, patients are no longer being called that anymore by hospitals. Patients are now being called “consumers”
As a “consumer” you have the ability to price compare, collect reviews, and change your provider as you see fit.
Are you taking advantage of that?
It may not be easy or even possible to get a refund when it comes to healthcare, but you can always take your business elsewhere.
It is all up to you.
There is a difference between healthcare and healing.
Healing does not have a price tag.
How do you plan to face poor bedside manner in the future?
Please share your story with us by commenting below!