The Sad Truth?

It seems all I am hearing about these days is the strain between doctor-patient relationships.

A surgeon can’t get to know his patients well because they are anesthetized the whole time the surgeon actually sees them.
There are far too many patients and far too little time to spend on each.
The fear of a lawsuit hangs over every physicians head- almost every physician will be sued in his/her lifetime.
Patients don’t trust doctors any more.
The paperwork has become more important than the patient.
Doctors condescend upon patients.

Yet…when I shadowed a pediatrician, he told me some background and memories about every single one of his patients. Which kids he saw born, how caring a parent is, how affectionate the girl with Turner’s syndrome is, how unfortunate that the girl who placed in a statewide swimming competition has another ear infection…

It was a different story in the ENT department of the VA hospital. Each doctor did his best, but could never see any of the patients more than once. There were too many people to see- appointments were booked through the next year.

It seems to me that I want to become a primary care physician that sees her patients regularly. But the compassion shown by the overworked doctors at the VA was so appealing. 

Maybe the relationship between doctors and patients is different now, maybe more difficult. But the everyday interactions I saw were nothing of the sort.

Of course, there was the one elderly patient who screamed and cursed until the nurses asked the doctor to give permission for the patient to leave the hospital as he wished. Perhaps he saw all medical personnel in a negative light. But I hope this isn’t the case overall.

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