Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Medicine's Public Relations Problem

He prefers to be called Doctor.  Even when he is talking to other parents or teachers.  He thinks it's a matter of respect.  He started using the moniker in medical school.  He bragged to his friends that he always got the best seat when making dinner reservations.

He sometimes doesn't answer his pager.  He "left it in the car"or some other tired excuse.  Fellow physicians know that he is often unreachable. Patients wait by phones for hours hoping they will get a call back.  His answering service has finally stopped making excuses and simply pages him again.

He's late to clinic every morning.  Often after a long breakfast with his golf buddies, he strolls in an hour past his first appointment.  His patients wait in cold rooms scantily dressed in gowns as he peruses the latest stock quotes on his computer.  He instructs his staff to double and triple book.

He believes his title makes his opinion unassailable.  He often enhances the best case scenario.  He reserves end of life discussions till after the casket has long been buried under the ground.  He cuts patients off mid sentence.  He hands out narcotics and antibiotics freely, and never once considers his own fallibility.

He is absolutely the worst our profession has to offer.  Yet, we turn our heads and wipe our hands clean of the bloody mess that he has made of our credibility.

What we have in medicine is a PR problem.  If we expect the public to continue to remove our heads from the chopping block we are sadly mistaken.

It's time to rewrite the narrative.


Venture Medical said...

This is an amazing post that should of been written years ago. Good for you. Thank you for having the "guts" to write this post. You're changing things whether you know it or not.


-Venture Medical.

kntspl said...

Great post~Thank you.

I'm curious who should begin the conversation regarding the concerns people have with this physician?
I wish we had the benefit of body language and tone of voice because I mean this in the most respectful and practical wisdom type of way.

If a health care provider who does not have the status as those who might be a physician or administrator began the conversation I'm certain the results would be oh so "less than splendid."

The behaviors you site are ones that do lead to poor medical outcomes and even lawsuits. So who begins the conversation.