Thursday, March 15, 2012

Needy People

Those of us with obscure ailments often chastise the doctor who refuse to acknowledge our symptoms. We attribute the doctor's attitude to arrogance or laziness but maybe we also share the blame.

I am talking about needy people. We all know someone like this, and we all have our needy moments. Needy people crave attention. They always one-up you. If you're sick, they're sicker. If you're injured, they were injured worse. If you met someone famous, they met someone even more famous. Good or bad, they can always top you.

Mistakenly, you might respond to a needy person's complaint with a helpful suggestion. Of course, the needy person replies "I have tried that and it just doesn't work. I am so much more sensitive than other people."

It is even possible a needy person's way of looking at life is making him sick and miserable. This could be a sign of untreated anxiety or depression. Regardless, it is exhausting to deal with a needy person. Like a black hole, they suck out all your energy,

Now imagine you're a busy doctor with many patients to treat, and one of them happens to be a needy person. It must be extemely frustrating to have a patient who returns repeatedly with symptoms you just can't help.

Doctors don't refer to these people as needy people, they call them difficult patients, and there are attributes that define this type of patient:

• Insist on being prescribed an unnecessary drug.
• Show dissatisfaction with care.
• Have unrealistic expectations for care.
• Visit regularly but ignore medical advice.
• Complain persistently, although the doctor has done everything possible to help.
• Insist on an unnecessary test.
• Are verbally abusive.
• Do not express appropriate respect.

There are two sides to every story though. Doctors can contribute to their patient's difficult behavior for the following reasons:

·         Some doctors are just frustrated.
·         Some patients demand treatments doctors are unwilling to provide or prescribe.
·         Patients who show up too frequently in emergency rooms may be turned away or mentally blacklisted in some way.
·         Sometimes doctors refuse to see patients out of a belief that a disease doesn't exist.
·         Some doctors just don't want to work with empowered patients.
·         The most repeated reason doctors will turn a patient away has to do with patients in real pain vs. drug-seeking patients.
Whether you are a frustrated patient or frustrated doctor, take a good hard look at yourself. If you're being honest with yourself, do you find that you ever exhibit any of the behaviors described above. If so, why? For both the patient and doctor to succeed, you need to listen to one another, be willing to try different things, and try these things in a positive way. Going at each other with cross-purposes give both doctors and patients bad names, and no one feels any better.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
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