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Saturday, March 6, 2010

A great description of blunt doctors

I was called to do a STAT EKG (which didn't need to be stat, but that's beside the point). Even though it needed to be done so quickly, I was unable to get to the patient because the doctor was playing with the man's groin.

I watched as the urologist played with the man's catheter, while the nurse tried to assist him. The doctor was blunt and not particularly nice to the nurse. And I got the feeling the doctor also forgot he was working on a real live patient, and not motor in an engine.

The doctor said things like, "Well, why isn't this in your kit here?", "Where's the tape?", "Why is the tape on the floor? Come on!", " We need to be better at this!", "I need some gauze here!", "Come on! Come on!"

Anyway, I watched this procedure for quite some time. The nurse left the room once to get something while the doctor waited impatiently, and she smiled at me as she walked past me, and rolled her eyes too. She knew I knew the doctor was being ridiculous.

The patient was calm through this whole thing, and he said to the doc, "Normally I'd be embarrassed with my thing all exposed with all these people in the room. But for some reason I don't care."

"Well, we'll be done soon," The doctor said. "We just gotta get this done."

"No problem," the patient said.

Finally the nurse came back with another nurse. The rest of the procedure was finally finished, and I started my EKG.

As I did this, the patient said, "You know, I really like that doctor. I really trust him and I think he does a great job."

"Yep," I said, "He is a great doctor."

"The problem is, he has poor bedside manners."

"True, yet I think that comes with the territory."

"You know what it is," he said, "it's that he is brilliant. He's brilliant at what he does. What he doesn't realize," he paused a moment, perhaps drawing the best words from his brain, "is that we aren't brilliant at what he does. And he has trouble comprehending that. And, for that reason, he has poor bedside manners."

"Wow!" I said. "You hit the nail right on the head. I couldn't explain it better than that."

Even after dealing with doctors like that all the time, it's never easy keeping your mouth shut and not telling the doctor he's an ass. Yet, I have never heard anyone confront a blunt doctor in this way, and I hope I never do.

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