For those of you who have followed my work for many years, it will come as no surprise that I believe doctors harm patients with words that are poorly chosen and patronizing. Years ago, my son pointed out to me the impact of these two words together:
SWORDS ~ WORDS ~ SWORDS ~ WORDS
Words certainly can be used as swords to wound both superficially and deeply. I always encourage people to find doctors who value partnering with their patients for optimum health, who have faith in their patients, and who always treat patients with respect and focused attention.
A reader shares the experience she had deciding to stand up and defend herself from a dismissive, uncaring doctor. It may help anybody in need of getting some power back over their health and healthcare. As a full partner in our care, there is so much we can do in our lives to enhance what mainstream medicine might be doing for us.
Question for Bernie:
Thank you so much for getting back to me, I’m honored and grateful that you have taken the time to respond. I received your book yesterday and have been reading it.
Attached please find a note I sent to my oncologist a few weeks ago after a disturbing phone call with him. He has apologized to me and also has said he appreciated the feedback. I’ll keep him on my team for now!
Here is what I sent to the doctor:
“So let me start by saying I was and have been a nervous wreck since we found this tumor. I’ve been trying like hell to hold it together and surprisingly I’m doing fairly well. Our phone conversation today has left me quite upset. I KNOW you can’t predict anything and I wasn’t asking you how long I will live. What I was expressing was how scared I am of the treatment, which I am going to do because I want to live as long as possible, and I was looking for some reassurance that I will get through this! I understand you have to deal with this crap day in and day out, but please have some compassion for us women who are struggling with our disease, and I want to survive it.
When we first met, I couldn’t have been happier with you and your credentials; I thought I had struck gold, especially coming from the NY area where Sloan Kettering and Yale are the top hospitals. I want to continue all of my care with you, but I need you to stop getting mad at me if all I am looking for is a little encouragement and support. I don’t think that is too much to ask.”
Good doctors apologize; the others make excuses and blame their patients.