Monday, June 8, 2009

Being patient with patients.


Reading Kirst's frustration on mishandled medical records and also Joey's rough time with her doctors, I cannot help but wonder if this has become a general practice.

We know that not all doctor is an a**h**le. Some do try desperately to be kind, sympathetic and extremely patient with their patient despite the many hurdles they encounter every day - the far-from-ideal patient load, the severe lack of supplies, the extreme poverty which comes in many forms, shapes and sizes. But even the most patient doctor has his limits, the breaking point, which when reached, causes them to snap at an uncooperative or agitated patient.

I hope that they are not proud of this. Maybe nobody encourages them to react this way as early in their medical education, they were taught time and time again that they should never become hardened and numb. But despite their many personal promises and resolutions, somehow they always end up doing what they shouldn’t do.

Could it be because of a mother in labor who seems to move too slowly? Or because another mother cries uselessly instead of pushing her baby out? Or because a son in the Emergency Room pesters them to admit his unwell, though relatively stable, mother amid a sea of patients needing urgent attention? Or because a man has allowed his mass to get so huge that you cannot imagine how he could have endured it for five long years? Or because a stubborn patient does not understand the meaning of maintenance medication?

Yes, nurses are prone to irritation too. Whether it is because the supply of alcohol, cotton or linens has run out; or they are forced to push the heavy stretcher beds and oxygen tanks around the hospital as if they were born to do such work; or they have not slept in more than 48 hours; or somebody has made the scary observation that their ankles are swollen from all the running, pushing and crouching—somehow. I guess no matter how hard they try to avoid it, they do reach that point when they become irritable, seemingly less sympathetic and harsh to their patients.

Sure stress and pressure sometimes cause them to snap. But it is during such hellish moments, more than ever, that they should remember that their patients entrust their health, and their lives to them, that they spend the night and days waiting for their turn just to be able to see them in their clinic and when they do, the last thing they want to hear is a surly doctor telling them, “Sorry your pain is just in your head!"

They owe it to their patients to always try—and try even harder—to be more patient, understanding and sympathetic, like every doctor and nurse should be.

I hope Kirst next visit to the hospital will be more pleasant...

10 comments:

NEO-CONDUIT said...

Ahh thanks hun, what a gorgeously well written post! You are such an articulate writer, proficient at prose :)
I have answered your last comment with a blog, it couldn't fit in the comments box.lol.

Love Kirst
xoxoxo

Odette said...

yes it's quite long, but then you were simply letting out your frustration and i can understand that.
just know that i am always here to listen and besides you gave me an idea on what subject to tackle next, hahaha!
big hugs!
xoxoxoxo

Tracey said...

In my opinion, which of course is important...lol. The nurses in our local hospital stand chatting at the nurses station about last nights date or the dishy new doctors, completely useless.
Tracey x x x

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

I find that there is a level of workload where you are focused and "with it"... too much and you can't take it all in or react; too little and you get bored and stand around gossiping.... clear tasks, checklists, and some sort of feedback system from the patients might help! Most medical staff are probably carrying too high a patient load to maintain a positive caring attitude 100% of the time - they are still human - and eventually, in frustration - as remember, this is not what they envisaged when they followed this vocation, they experience stress, burnout and loss of empathy as a coping mechanism.

I heard a radio documentary recently where one Asian country referred to their patients as their clients... and saw a hospital as a sort of hotel where people could choose to go, and probably could comment on the service as in any real hotel. This created healthy competition, but as they pointed out - the hospitals are there to serve their customers... the jobs of all the staff rely on the continued arrival of people who generate the income.
So remind nme again why people might feel a nuisance in a medical system? They are the reason for the existence of the whole establishment! And the customer is always right.

amna said...

I would say that doctors and nurses must practice professional ethics, they are dealing with people in every forms and diseases and sensitivities of the patients and the concern families should be regarded as one of the top priorities. Being tired and lack of medical supplies can't be used as an excuse to lose their tempers to the patients. First of all when they entered into that field they knew what they are getting into, pressures, losing their own personal lives and have to deal with feelings and emotions. Their job is to help saving lives and help to ease the pains if possible. A very caring and thoughtful doctors and nurses can give happiness and hopes to even the hopeless case.
My Dad is a Senior citizen, goes to the same doctor for almost 15 years and 2 weeks ago, he was very hurt and troubled coz the doctor's secretary had yelled and insulted him personally ,calling him an old man without manner. My Dad has lots of sickness and he is the most gentle and kind person I ever know. He wasn't eating properly coz of that incedent, I called that woman, yelled at her and called her names she can never imagine in her whole life. My Father is old and sickly and very sensitive, I can never imagine of him being insulted by the same people who supposed to give him support physically and emotionally.

Odette said...

Amna,
you should also read kirst and joey post as they have experienced musch more than insult. they way the hospital had bungled their job had changed their lives. it is sad, and i hope people in the medical profession will be more compassionate.
hey i had given you an award...you can at least start with this one and post it in your page. i will visit your page to check. iam sure tracey will too.
hugs!
xoxoxoxoxoxo

living_with_ba said...

I love the way you phrase things, and the way you try to see both sides when you've only be presented with one.

I usually find the nurses that know me and my conditions are the ones that are able to treat me with respect all the time, even after a hard long day.

I did once have a doctor who did everything I needed him to do, and in that way, I was spoilt because when he left I expected the same from my new doc which has not been the case.

Angry American said...

Most doctors here are patient with us but they also make their fair share of mistakes. Hence, outrageous medical malpractice insurance premiums. Of course, they pass the savings on to us. ;)

Nurses are a different story. They work more hours and put up with a hell of a lot of flack from doctors, administrators and patients alike. But, most still manage to maintain their composure with patients.

However, my dad works 2nd shift in maintenance at a local hospital here. The lazy d*ck heads on 1st shift rarely do any work, nor do they tell anybody they still have the work orders. 2nd shift, a smaller crew, usually ends up doing 90 percent of the work.

One day, he showed up for a call and a nurse yelled and cussed him out for work not done in quite a while. When she was done yelling, he told her if she ever talks to him like that again he's gonna kick her ass. lmao :D

I don't think co-workers count as much a patients though. But, if my doctors didn't have patients with me, especially my endocrinologist, I'd have permanent finger marks around my neck by now. 8)=

Odette said...

AA,
yeah, esp. when your doctor will how you manipulate your sugar count monitoring record, hahahah!
oops, am i suppose to sat that?
xoxoxoxo

Sheila said...

I have read about malpractice and poor treatment and it's difficult to take when you are ill. There should be a low tolerance for that, but as someone who has had more interaction with doctors and nurses this last 2 years than I ever thought possible I have to defend them on other fronts. Perhaps I am fortunate, but all our encounters have been good.Our family doctor, nurse practitioners, and specialists have all been patient and kind.
We must remember they are human too, with families and lives outside working hours. It helps to be prepared with information about medication and previous treatment when going to emergency depts, and to remember that patients are usually seen in order of need. A heart attack takes precedence over a minor issue.
I think it is important to thank the doctor and nurses who help you too, I'm sure it is something they don't hear often enough, and it goes a long way to making them feel appreciated.

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