Tag Archives: doctor-patient relationships

The medical apology: have you ever received one?

26 Aug

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

When patients are seen as “The Enemy”

30 Oct

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