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Most of us have had the experience of waiting for hours for our doctor to spend a measly five minutes listening to our complains. In some cases the doctor may even be rude or downright insulting in his/her demeanor. Ever wonder why that happens? Well, Dr Aniruddha Malpani, leading infertility specialist and a strong advocate of patient advocacy tells you about why doctors tend to disrespect their patients.
Reason #1: Patients look up to them:
The medical profession exists to provide service to patients, and it's hard to provide quality service if you don't respect the person whom you are serving. The most important reason for a doctors arrogance is that they are surrounded by patients who look up to them. Doctors automatically start thinking of themselves as being wiser than everyone else. Because they have so much expertise in a narrow technical field, they feel this translates into wisdom in other areas as well. They tend to become arrogant, and start to feel superior as compared to their patients. Others try to distance themselves from patients, in order to protect themselves. They deliberately try to suppress their emotions, because it can be hard to deal with suffering and death at close quarters. Read about 15 tips to make your doctor's consultation more fruitful.
Reason #2: They are clueless about the patients real life, outside their clinic:
Most doctors are surprisingly clueless about what their patient's go through. They find it difficult to understand the patient's perspective; and get irritated when patients asks them questions. When a patient brings pages of printouts from the web, they often try to put them in their place by asserting their authority. They usually tend to feel that because of their years of experience and professional expertise, they know much more about your medical problem than you ever will. Internet research is often looked at as a waste of time and effort. Eventually the doctor tosses aside their hours of research and dismisses their concerns so lightly. Read about why you as a patient need to be given a voice in your healthcare choices.
Reason #3: A doctor might not perceive you to be an intelligent adult:
In some cases a doctor might refuse to treat you as an intelligent adult based on all the care he is providing you. For a person who feels he/she is providing you with sole guidance it's hard to tolerate questions or research beyond or contrary to what he mentions. Sadly, most patients put up with it, because they feel helpless and powerless and do not want to antagonize their doctor. They continue doing their searches, but refuse to share their worries with the doctor. Wondering what kind of questions might help you get more out of your doctor? Here are the answers.
Reason #4: Doctors are used to being followed implicitly:
Because most doctors work in hospitals, and are surrounded by nurses and assistants. They are used to barking out orders, and have are used to unquestioned obedience to whatever they dictate. This is why they are not equipped to handle patients who ask them questions and if you don't like being questioned, you are likely to be disrespectful to the questioner.
Reason #5: They have an unfair advantage:
Doctors have an unfair advantage in the doctor-patient relationship. They are fully clothed and sitting down, while patients are scared, worried and vulnerable. They are half naked and lying down and are hanging on to every word the doctor speaks. Sadly, doctors can take undue advantage of this power by asserting their authority and being rude some might take perverse pleasure in doing so especially when the patient in front of them is poor or illiterate.
Reason #6: Your questions may seem silly:
Many doctors make fun of the quality of questions which patients ask them. It's true that patients don't know enough about their problem, which is why they are often mired in myths and misconceptions. Doctors feel that answering these 'stupid' questions is a waste of their time, and they get irritated when patients repeatedly ask questions which they feel are pointless and irrelevant.
One reason is that sometimes doctors find these questions challenging and beyond their competence to answer. While they may know a lot about their particular specialty, they often know precious little about other specialties. Patients will often have multiple illnesses that span across many fields, and a doctor may find that they cannot answer these questions. Even worse, many doctors have failed to keep up-to-date with the advancements in their fields. Patients who are diligent researchers, will often know more about recent advances and modern trends than their doctor does and these questions can prove to be threatening to the doctor, who feels he is supposed to know everything. Rather than acknowledge his ignorance, he may resort to anger by putting the patient in his place. This behaviour can be especially perplexing when it comes to your child's health. Read about why there are no silly questions when it comes to your child's care.
Reason #7: They may suffer from low self-esteem:
Finally, many doctors disrespect their patients because they suffer from low self-esteem. This might seem surprising, but many doctors resent the fact that even though they have spent so many years in mastering their specialty, their counterparts are often much better off financially than they are. This is not a comfortable feeling! One reason why a person becomes a doctor in the first place is because they've always been very good academically. Then, when they find that this academic expertise and superior intelligence and hard work doesn't translate into success in real life, they can become bitter and resentful. One way of venting bitterness is to take it out on the people around you and it's often patients who bear the brunt of the doctor's dissatisfaction with life in general.
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