Every time I attend a Doctor or Hospital appointment, I go with a calm, polite manner, banishing the memories of the countless impolite Doctors I have met before and hope that the one I am seeing will be a good listener and polite. Yet 97% of all the Doctors I have met have squashed my hope.
Yesterdays appointment was not for Dystonia, however Dystonia still managed to impact it. It started like all Hospital appointments, I waited to be called through and when the Consultant did call me through he seemed to be polite. This helped up my hope for a nice Consultant. So you can imagine how devastated I was at the end of the appointment, when I left wanting to tell him exactly what I thought of him (I refrained from this and kept up my polite attitude). Through-out the appointment he talked over me, consequently he ended up having to ask me the same question 4 or 5 times, as he never let me say more than 3 words before interrupting. He made me feel like a complete inconvenience and that the procedure he would have to carry out at a later date was even more of an inconvenience.
This feeling was proven to be correct after I expressed my concerns that the procedure may set off a Non Epileptic Seizure or a spasm, to this he replied “Well, we shall to give you a small sedation in your hand before hand. I cannot see why we have to, it’s rather inconvenient”. I immediately apologised and explained I was not trying to make things difficult for them, I was simply expressing my concerns as I did not want to turn up on the day and then the procedure not be able to be done because I had a seizure etc. However I do not think he listened to a word of this, as he went on to keep expressing that the 3 changes that had to be made were a huge inconvenience for him. He then expressed that he felt the issue I had suffered with for 6 months was most likely not serious, this was great news, however he then implied that he considered that whatever was going wrong in my body to be due to my weight or my disability by saying “it would not surprise me in someone like you”. Now I understand that he most likely was not trying to insult me however to me that came across as a dig at either the fact I am overweight or the fact I am disabled. The appointment just kept going down hill from there.
Now I understand that not all Doctors are like this, and there are some who are genuinely nice people, who want to help you, such as my Neurological Consultant and my GP. However the majority of the Doctors I have met are arrogant, insensitive and extremely bad listeners. These traits that do not go well for a Doctor. Even if you do have these traits surely you could at least act like you were listening and wanted to help! I am fed up of Doctors talking to me as if I am not a human but just an illness, or not listening to me etc. I am a human, I have feelings and I deserve to be treated with respect. I would not dare to be disrespectful to a Doctor, or insult them, so why on Earth should I be expected to put up with it??
I know from talking to many people, all with different types of conditions, that running into these types of Doctors/Consultants is becoming a frequent issue. I have seen patients leave appointments in floods of tears. On placement, there were occasions where I was left to deal with the patient myself, and calm them down after they had seen their Doctor. This is not right! A person should leave an appointment, feeling like they have been listened to and that their Doctor is going to try and help them.
It is terribly sad that the Doctors who care seem to be so few and far between. I count myself to be extremely lucky to have two that actually want to help me, who listen and respect me. They truly are outstanding in their profession Every Doctor should take a leaf out of their books. I can only hope that with time, Doctors start to change, that they start seeing patients as vulnerable beings who have come to seek help from them and not as inconvenient illness that has been shoved in front of them.