Why do people become doctors?
I’m sure for some it is for that altruistic “I wanna save people” reason.
For others, it may have been because they saw a family member or friend die, and they don’t want that to happen to others.
in my lifelong experience with doctors, I have been convinced that a lot of doctors become doctors because they think it’s going to bring them
- Bragging rights
- Pats on the Back
- Hummers and Lamborghinis
- Nice Suits and Louboutins
And guess what, it usually does. So yay for them.
But, after a couple years, or five years, or 10 years, or however long – I’m not really sure, because I’m not a doctor… They lose the feeling of what a doctor is really supposed to be. And guess who loses out?
Well, not just me, obviously. You, too. Specifically, us chronic illness patients that have to go to doctors – one after the other after the other – to try to fix what’s wrong with us. Some of us don’t even know what’s wrong with us; so we go to doctor after doctor after doctor to try to figure it out. Others know what’s wrong with us, but we don’t know how to fix it, so we go to doctor after doctor after doctor to try to do that.
So, in the end, we face doctors constantly – once a week, twice a week, three times a week, a couple times a month (whatever) all the time all we see is doctors!
So, I’ve been able to form quite a scientific theory, if you will, of this group as a whole. And I’ve asked myself —- why do they become doctors?
I had an experience yesterday that was very upsetting. It was because of this doctor that I have been trying to get in to for months (you know the kind). One of my *other* doctors was humble enough to tell me that she did not know what to do for me anymore, and recommended another physician that she thought would be able to help me to a greater degree to get out of the situation that I’m currently in (namely looking down the barrel of death). Out of this concern, she referred me to another guy (I limit myself on using the term doctor at this point, because *well let’s just face it* I don’t want to call him that).
It’s not that this person didn’t have any appointments, or was too busy, it’s that he picks and chooses who he wants to see like it’s American Idol. He looks over my records to see whether or not I’m good enough or bad enough or interesting enough or not interesting enough (I’m not really sure) for his caseload. He dangled me like a carrot on a stick for months. And then what happened? A big fat no! And then nothing. No, I’m sorry that you’re in a tough situation. No, I’m going to make a suggestion or another referral or something else to help you out. Nothing. Wow. That is some serious compassionate care right there, I’ll tell you.
I understand that doctors can’t say yes everyone. And I’m not saying that I’m so arrogant that I expect doctors to make concessions for me in every case. I would understand that if this guy had a bazillion patients he could say “I can’t take you on as a patient because I have too many patients already and it’s too much.” But, I know for a fact for my other doctor that this is not the case. He comes into the office once a week (yes people once a week!) And on top of that, chooses patients via The Voice, American Idol, America’s Got Talent sort of way – like it’s a competition.
And I bet he leaves the hospital driving his fancy red Lamborghini, and cruises up to the circle drive of his giant castle mansion lined with fancy orchids, with his house smelling like cupcakes every time he gets there, too. So yay for him.
But boo for the rest of us!
Why is it that doctors can be doctors without having the fellow feeling for people that they should have?
ALL doctors should want to be doctors because they want to help people. Shouldn’t there be some kinda class in medical school where they teach doctors the reason for being doctors in the first place? Wouldn’t that eliminate a lot of the problems we have right now?
Who am I kidding? If no one was sick in the first place we would need doctors at all!
So, if you’re a doctor reading this post ponder this:
When you’re in medical school, I assume you read something called the Hippocratic oath – doesn’t it say something along the lines of “I will abstain from all intentional wrong-doing and harm?”
You’re harming me if you put me through some kinda weird sick person gauntlet to determine whether or not I get to be your patient.
You’re harming me if you come to my hospital room and talk to me about my illness without ever making eye contact with me at all.
You’re harming me when you treat me like a number on a chart and not like a human being.
You’re harming me when you don’t allow me to have a choice in my own healthcare, and assume I’m just going to do whatever you say without questioning you at all.
You harm me when you say it won’t hurt, or be so bad, or it’s fine, when you’ve never experienced it yourself and therefore cannot say.
You harming me when you’re not straight with me about what happening to my health. Just be honest.
First, do no harm. That’s how the saying goes. Think about that when you say it.
It’s not just words.
Why don’t you try putting yourself in my shoes for a minute before you treat me?
Try applying empathy – it will do your patients so much good.