by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters
Many years before I finally left a decades-long professional relationship with my family physician, I had observed distressing changes in her practice. I didn’t say anything about these changes at first. They began with her new all-cash medical aesthetics clinic (think: nonstop before-and-after Botox videos looping in every exam room).
She did not post an actual sign in her waiting room telling her longtime patients what we all knew: “I Am No Longer Interested in the Practice of Family Medicine” – but everything about her behaviours clearly announced that she’d already moved on without telling us. . Continue reading “The medical hierarchy shift”
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 “Is ‘being nice’ hurting women?”
by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters ♥ August 26, 2018
I’ve been invited to participate in an academic study on an interesting concept: the medical apology. My first reaction was to decline the invitation, explaining that never once have I had a healthcare professional apologize to me when something went wrong. And I’ve had a few things go very, very wrong.
I could have used an apology at age 16, for example, when the infirmary nurse at my convent boarding school repeatedly refused my pleas to call the local doctor for my severe appendicitis symptoms, instead blaming them first on the flu, the next day on my period, and the third day on exam anxiety. I was finally hospitalized with a ruptured appendix and near-fatal peritonitis that required a month-long hospital stay. A little “I’m sorry” would have been nice. . .
But I’m thinking that some of you might have some interesting personal experiences about receiving a medical apology to share on this subject. If you’d like to get involved, here’s how to contact the researchers: Continue reading “The medical apology: have you ever received one?”
by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters
My daughter loves her career as a probation officer. She is very good at what she does, and finds the work both challenging and rewarding. Yet her client case load includes some of the most unsavoury of individuals, found guilty by the courts of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault or worse, many of them living with added complexities like addictions or mental health issues. She’s been insulted and screamed at by distraught clients. Police are sometimes dispatched to her workplace to intervene in potentially dangerous crises. Few of us could even imagine working in her office every day.
Yet whenever I ask my daughter what kind of day she’s had today, I marvel at her continuing ability to truly care about the work she does, despite the many challenges of working within the criminal justice system, dealing with an often-desperate clientele, and an almost overwhelming legal bureaucracy.
Contrast that perspective with the collective unrest among physicians who seem to hate their jobs. Continue reading “When patients are seen as “The Enemy””