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Jeanie Oliver
Jeanie Oliver
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Patient Rights-Respect and Courtesy?

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I have recently been diagnosed with an autonomic nervous system dysfunction called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, POTS for short. What I have is not so important in this blog as how I have been treated by medical professionals. Most of you probably think “treated” means what the doctors have prescribed, recommended, tests that have been run, etc.

In this article, though, I mean “treated” as another verb. I mean how the doctors behaved, what they said, and the amount of time they spent with me. I just want to get better. I think most people go to a doctor so they can have a problem solved. If, when you get your explanation from the doctor, they are rude or short with you, tell them that you don’t appreciate this behavior.
If my car has a problem, I take it to a mechanic to be diagnosed and fixed. If my mechanic can manage to be charming and give a careful explanation, then is it so little to ask of someone making 10 times more money to at least be polite?!! Now, most doctors’ egos would be so smashed if I told them that I compared them to a mechanic. After all, saving my car is not the same as saving my life!
After a young doctor told me that he didn’t have all day and asked if I was going to get on the treadmill, it took me just seconds to realize that he didn’t even know my name. I was frightened, suffering chest pains, and my heartrate was already higher than his target rate for the stress test. I decided that my next appointment would be different. I simply googled, “how to talk to your doctor”.
It was amazing how many helpful sites that I found. One of the best was the AARP site,http://www.aarp.org/health/staying_healthy/prevention/a2003-03-13-talkdr.html.This site gave me so much great information. So since I go to the doctor once a week, I am prepared to gently convince the next doctor that I deserve to be “treated” with respect. He or she could throw in a little charm with the diagnosis. I am now empowered enough to expect this with my next visit!!

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Medical Malpractice and Negligent Care.