It seems odd that those two may be used in the same sentence, but I find myself mumbling throughout a long day, “This is a doctor’s office, you can’t have it your way right away”. Maybe I’m being unfair in this sentiment but some patients believe this to be true. Granted, there are many more pleasant patients who respect a doctor-patient relationship. Then there are those who see an urgent care as vending machine. They pay money and expect to receive a product in return.
How did this start?
Again this is unfair to blame patients for believing this. This is the picture that healthcare has recently painted. Unfortunately healthcare institutions are not always managed by healthcare providers. Seems silly doesn’t it? Many times as of late they are ran by a businessman or woman who has never been at the bedside of a patient. These people are very good at generating money and personally may not have any bad intentions. Their sentiment in making money however trickles down to heads of departments, middle management, and even physicians at the forefront. The result is no longer seeing patients walk through the door, but seeing customers. It sounds terrible, but it’s true. I fortunately work for a company that is ran by physicians, and I am very proud to be part of a team that still keeps patient care as the upmost importance.
Healthy not happy patients
A doctor without principles is one you should stay clear of. Because I have principles I often find myself balancing between keeping patients happy and doing the right thing. The right thing is usually what keeps patients safe, and is the side of the line that I always lean toward.
On top of keeping patients safe, a doctor is a person just like you are at your job. I will use an example to preclude my reasoning. A doctor walks into a room and greets the patient. The encounter initially has a pleasant tone. The patient then abruptly states, “I’ll make this quick. I have a cold and am here for a z pack. A z pack always makes me better. I know my body”. This is not something I suggest you say to any doctor for a few reasons. First and foremost, it is an aggressive statement and directly challenges the physician’s education and morals. Two, it is false. A z pack will not cure a cold. Lastly, depending on the doctor’s principles, you may unnecessarily receive a z pack for a viral infection, and now may experience potential life threatening side effects.
No one, including the physician, wants to be told how to do their job. That is not to say that a suggestion cannot be made from the patient or a family member, and then taken into consideration by the physician. We all studied very hard and sacrificed many years or our lives to get to where we are. If you feel as if you are being mistreated or neglected by a physician, you have every right to get a second opinion.
There is an inherent trust that must be present when you see a doctor. Just as I trust a chef to wash his hands before cooking my meal at a restaurant, that same trust should be present with your doctor. This does not mean you should be stifled as a patient. Ask questions and take an active role in your treatment. If you still feel as if you are being treated unfairly, you have the right to leave the office and contact patient advocacy.
You may not be leaving an urgent care with a product or whopper. What you did pay for with your copay however was a medical opinion from a licensed medical professional. Medicine is a science. If it were not, and based on anecdotal accounts, then we would still be visiting our local village shaman for healing.