Being sick doesn’t excuse being a jerk

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

angry-mobI watched a man recently telling the story of how he’d been “fired” by his cardiologist. All he had done to deserve this, he explained, was to use the f-word during a confrontation with the office receptionist. He complained that he’d been subsequently fired after this receptionist reported his outburst to her boss. He specifically blamed the terms of a recently implemented anti-bullying policy at the medical facility. Because of this receptionist and this anti-bullying policy, he was now stuck in the unenviable state of being without a cardiologist.

No. No. And NO! It was his own decision to behave badly that accomplished that result for him. Not surprisingly, physicians, nurses, and other healthcare staff are fed up with bullies like That Guy, who act as if being a patient means you get a free pass to be a jerk.

It does not mean that at all. Continue reading “Being sick doesn’t excuse being a jerk”

The lost art of common courtesy in medicine

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

So I showed up for a scheduled medical test at the hospital the other day. It was one of those particularly distasteful tests that involve a full day’s prep at home choking down a range of hideous chemical cocktails, consumption of which is designed to induce explosive liquid diarrhea that requires staying very, very close to a toilet all day long. The procedure itself  on the following morning was right up there on the Creepy Disgusting Embarrassing Cringe Scale of medical experiences.

Hospital procedures like this feel invasive, uncomfortable, distressing, and revoltingly undignified for most patients. All the more reason that medical staff who administer such procedures need to start treating us like we’re more than just the nameless, faceless 10 o’clock patient in Bed 8, what I’ve previously described here as “the obstacle between them and their next coffee break, just a piece of meat on a slab – but worse, an invisible piece of meat.”

Call me crazy, but I might even go so far as to insist that patients deserve to be treated with common courtesy, and let’s start with the simple basics of saying something like:

Hello. My name is _____ and I’ll be doing your ______  today.” Continue reading “The lost art of common courtesy in medicine”

An open letter to all hospital staff


by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

Dear hospital employees,

After a particularly bizarre experience undergoing a treadmill stress echocardiogram at your hospital recently, I decided to do something that I have never done before.  I called the Cardiology Department manager to complain about her staff.  (Incidentally, a recent opinion survey of international travellers found that Canadians were #1 in only one category:  “Least likely to complain when things go wrong” – so you can appreciate that lodging an official complaint is a fairly Big Deal here!)

In my best PR fashion, I told the manager how distressing the appointment had been for me because of the behaviour of the two cardiac technicians in the room.  Continue reading “An open letter to all hospital staff”