Tag Archives: difficult patients

Is ‘being nice’ hurting women?

30 Sep

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters    September 30, 2018

Imagine the reaction from Emergency Department staff to the woman I met at my Mayo Clinic training, the one who had been sent home from Emergency three days in a row despite her complaints of increasingly distressing cardiac symptoms. Each time she arrived there, she clearly declared the following to the Emergency physician, who continued to repeatedly dismiss her concerns:

“I don’t care what you say. SOMETHING is wrong with me!”

What a royal pain in the ass, staff may have muttered about her, sotto voce.

On her third visit, the physician recommended anti-anxiety medications. But on the fourth visit, on that fourth day, she was taken directly from the E.R. to the O.R. to undergo emergency coronary bypass surgery. Continue reading

When you fear being labelled a “difficult” patient

13 Dec

woman latina worried.jpg

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

We arrive early for our doctor’s appointment. We wait patiently. We sit across from the doctor, and we nod and smile politely during our visit. We pick up the prescription for our meds and then we walk out the door to make room for the next patient waiting.

And sometimes we do this even when the discussion about our health care leaves us with unspoken concerns or unanswered questions. Most patients know what this feels like, so it’s reassuring to learn that academics are actually studying it: our fear of being labelled a “difficult patient”.
Continue reading

When you fear being labelled a “difficult” patient

9 Dec

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

We arrive early for our doctor’s appointment. We wait patiently. We sit across from the doctor, and we nod and smile politely during our visit. We pick up the prescription for our meds and then we walk out the door to make room for the next patient waiting.

And sometimes we do this even when the discussion about our health care leaves us with unspoken concerns or unanswered questions. Most patients know what this feels like, so it’s reassuring to learn that academics are actually studying it: our fear of being labelled a “difficult patient”Continue reading

How to be a “good” patient

9 Aug

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

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Here’s how to be a “GOOD PATIENT”:

  • Get sick (preferably with a short-term acute ailment).
  • Get an appointment to see your doctor.
  • Get diagnosed.
  • Get a prescription.
  • Get better.
  • Thank your brilliant doctor.

Now, here’s how to be a “DIFFICULT PATIENT”:

  • Contract a chronic, progressive illness.
  • Go see your doctor.
  • Get diagnosed.
  • Take your meds.
  • Get diagnosed with something different. Many, many times.
  • Take your new meds.
  • Keep going back, because symptoms keep getting worse.
  • Get more tests.
  • Take different meds.
  • Get referrals to specialists. Many, many times.
  • Get more tests, more meds and more invasive medical procedures.
  • Keep going back.

You get the picture . . .

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© 2011 Carolyn Thomas  www.myheartsisters.org

NOTE FROM CAROLYN:  I included more about being a “good patient” in my book, A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease (Johns Hopkins University Press, November 2017).

See also:

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