Saturday, May 10, 2014

Does Your Doctor Listen?

We've all been there. You go to the doctor and you walk up to that Fort Knox of a setup that the receptionists have. "What are they doing back there?" you wonder.

You knock on the glass only to be greeted by some pimply-faced college student who acts as if you disrupted a brain surgery in progress.  She pushes a clipboard towards you full of the same forms you've filled since you were old enough to visit a doctor on your own.

You sign in and you sit down in some chair only fit for those under 150 lbs. and you wait. The television is playing at a low volume with Closed Captioning scrolling to prevent you from reading the CNN news ticker (FOX News if you're in Mississippi).

You play Candy Crush until your lives run out. You surf Facebook until you get to yesterday's timeline. You flip through a People's magazine so old that Dudley Moore is on the cover. An hour and a half later, the nurse calls you back.  "Finally!" you say under your breath.

Now you're in the back and sitting in a cold room on top of a table that has about 24 square inches of real estate. It's more of a tray than a table. The rustling of the paper under your butt aggravates you to no end.  "At least I had a television to watch and magazines to read in the waiting room," you think to yourself.

15 minutes later the doctor strolls in as if you've only been waiting a few minutes.  He has two people come into the room with him.  He greets you and introduces the interns who are "shadowing" him for the day and then asks you what's wrong while he looks at some notes (probably for his next patient).  You respond with whatever your ailment is and he nods in agreement while he checks your ears and breaks out his trusty stethoscope.  "Breathe in....  Breathe out..." he says while staring into space.

He grabs his prescription pad and scribbles something for you that should get rid of your problem in a few days.  Just as quickly as he arrives he's gone.  The room gets so quiet so quickly that you start to wonder if he was ever really there in the first place.

You hop down from the table and accidentally pull apart half of the paper sheet that was underneath you.  You make your way to the cashier area to settle up on your bill.  The amount you pay depends on your insurance, but we'll just say that it's $30.  Almost two hours later you're back in your car wondering where you day went.

Has this happened to you?  I'm sure it has.  There's so much pressure on today's doctors to see patients that it lowers the level of care people receive from them.  The doctors generally get paid per patient, so if they don't see so many an hour then they don't do all that well in regards to salary.  Some doctors can see as many as 60 patients a day.  60!

I don't have a permanent doctor at the moment.  The last one I saw was actually at an MEA Clinic when I had lower back pains.  She was very nice and seemed more interested in me as a whole instead of just someone looking to push some drugs on me and get me out the door.  She has her own practice, so it's likely that I will give her a try soon.

Because when it comes to our bodies we should want someone who is truly interested in us.  Would you take your car to a mechanic who rushes through work?  Absolutely not!  Yet everyday thousands of us are putting our trust in doctors who may have good intentions, but don't have a lot of time.  Something needs to change in regards to how doctors are paid.  If someone needs 30 minutes of care and consultation then it shouldn't be the same pay as someone who may only need 10 minutes.

We're a long way from doctors who used to make house calls.  If you want to maximize your time with your doctor then be prepared before arrival.  Make use of that time in the waiting room and have your questions ready for when you finally get to see "Dr. Flash."

How can your doctor truly give you the care that you need if they're always in a rush?  

1 comment:

  1. Quincy, this is one of my pet peeves! If doctors (whose time is so precious) were ever treated with the same callous disrespect and neglect that they routinely dump on their patients, they'd lose their minds! Tack on a monster bill for their "consultation" and it only adds insult to the injury. Sitting for an hour in a room full of sick people, handling bacteria-harvesting magazines, then being shuffled back to some examination room for another thirty minute wait, while people move around and talk to one another in the hallway outside the closed exam room door... and you begin to hope the next sound you hear is Dr. Feelgood pulling your chart from the wall next to your door. Absolutely pisses me off. Being in a hospital and waiting for that obligatory visit from the same guy before you can be released is another pisser for me... THEY NEED TO BE TREATED THAT WAY TO UNDERSTAND HOW SHITTY IT IS TO BE DISRESPECTED!


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