When doctors are called providers

An interesting article on what doctors say and how that can be insensitive or perceived that way.

I have had one such experience when one of the haematologists, in describing my case to medical students, described it being incurable in blunter terms than I was comfortable with then (now I would be more relaxed as have internalized it more).

While doctors have to be more careful, patients also have to be more tolerant except in egregious cases. Given the number of people doctors see in a day and the kind of messages they have to deliver, sometimes they will get it wrong for the individual before them. Hard for patients to do this given our vulnerability but the example the author cited could also be read sympathetically as taking the issue of tinnitus seriously (in contrast to the other doctors).

When doctors are called providers.


2 thoughts on “When doctors are called providers

  1. Thanks for the citation! I completely agree that it is difficult to know your audience, particularly if your audience is a first-time patient. I purposely chose this example over a lot of egregious ones because I knew it was one that was open to interpretation. Some people definitely would have appreciated the doctor’s sympathy. I personally found that she overshot her hyperbole to the point of alienation. I tried to explain why by giving a bit of my background and how depressed I actually was at one point.

    Just to be clear, I think her way of talking to me was immensely preferable compared to the doctors who dismissed me entirely. I just found this “gray” interaction more interesting to write about, precisely because it generated the discussion of “Was what she said really all that bad?”

    Great blog, and all the best to you.

    • Interpersonal relations are always hard to get right! Particularly when we may not know everything the other person is going through. Thanks for the discussion. Andrew

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