Friday, February 10, 2012


There are quite a few patients whom I don't like. They are obnoxious, rude, don't care what I have to suggest regarding their health, and are disinclined to heed anything I say unless it's immediately preceded by "...and this is a magic shot which will cure your pain/diarrhea/vomiting/dizziness/drowsiness/gout."

But, and this is a big but, they are still a patient of mine. I will bitch about them in private but I will take good care of them because IT IS MY JOB. When you, Dr. Frat Boy, sign up to see this patient you are implying that you too will take care of them. Because it's your job.

When you signed up to see that patient with dizziness, facial pain, and subjective fever, you formulated a diagnosis of sinusitis before you even went in the room. You documented in your chart that you went over discharge instructions, observed the patient walking without difficulty, and heard her say she felt all better now. Unfortunately, none of this was the case as you documented all this without ever having been in the room.

Don't get all pissy at me when I call you out on this, and kindly inform you that the patient is actually so dizzy she can't walk straight. I'll advocate for this patient and tell you I think she's actually got vertigo, and when you toss med-school questions at me and ridicule me when I can't tell you the exact pathophysiology I'll just ignore you and suggest you go see the patient. Damn right I'm going to stand in the room and make you get the patient out of bed so you can see for yourself how right I am, even if I can't tell you the names of the tests used to identify this diagnosis. I'll go get that valium and meclizine right now, thanks. And I'll do all this even though I still can't stand the patient, and the patient doesn't even know or care that I fought for her.

Because it's our job.

*willful abusers of the system are excluded from the whole "deserving of respect as a patient" bit.


Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Thank you for advocating for your patients no matter whether personally you like them or not. You are right-it's your job and I am grateful that so many of you are so good at what you do.

Val said...


Meara O. said...

Right FREAKIN' on! I'm sure Dr. Frat Boy was just embracing today's social culture and checked her facebook status for her health... 'OMG, SOOOOO sick... >_>'. But she can type, so it must mean she is fine ;)

Actually seeing your patient is vastly overrated anyway. (I hope everyone can detect my sarcasm...)

Dan said...

That's why I've long thought it should be legal for nurses to bag-tag the occasional doc when merited.

Shelley said...

And i love the name "Dr. Frat-boy". Too awesome :)

Gelfling said...