Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Where are all the physicians?

I was scheduled to have an out patient procedure at 3:10 PM. I sat in the waiting room for almost an hour before being called back. In the procedure room I was asked to undress and lie down, covering myself with a paper sheet. After being prepped by the nurse I waited for another 40 minutes for the doctor to arrive. He immediately began a rapid, impersonal monologue about some of my test results, without one word of apology for being over 90 minutes late. I made it very clear to him on our first visit that I was a physician, but that was apparently lost on him because today I was Mr. Renzulli, and the recipient of a quick, basic spiel of why I might benefit from a surgical procedure (as a layman I would not have understood just what he was proposing). I made it clear to him I preferred a trial of medical therapy, and he agreed, but then left without prescribing the medication.

The man was a technician, and I was nothing but another procedure to him. There was absolutely nothing personal in the entire encounter. He remembered nothing about my first visit and never bothered to refer to a chart. He did not give me the courtesy of addressing me as a colleague, and actually spoke down to me. Even worse, without a medical background I would not have understood my condition or my options.

Obviously I am so very out of date! The opportunity to care for a patient is a privilege!
Medicine is a noble calling that is being transformed into an impersonal, technical, market driven occupation, devoid of any nobility.

1 comment:

V said...

Bill,

Other than you, I have a few other friends who are also doctors. One of them said the reason he retired was it was more about the paperwork than the patient, and because the insurance companies were running the show and not the doctors. To bad, really.

Vee