A Confession

Hernia Discussion Forums Hernia Discussion A Confession

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    • #29451
      pinto
      Participant

      After the surgery failure and my three-month wait for a reply from my surgeon about it, I had much to think about. I felt vulnerable and powerless. It made me think of similar accounts read in HerniaTalk of members not listened to or ignored by their doctors. A great reversal from before my surgery!

      Then before my hernia I was in the best of health. The closest I came to doctors were for my annual blood checks. Doctors were cheery guardians aiming to please.

      That all was shattered by my three-month wait only to be followed by another three months of having to joust with hospital staff to answer a simple question. It takes a half-year for my surgeon to answer a simple question?? Totally bizarre.

      All of which has led me to make a confession: it wasn’t until the astonishingly poor treatment, post-surgery, by my surgeon that I could grasp that medical casualties happen. Some doctors don’t listen. And some don’t–intentionally.

      If you were tormented by a half-year of facing various barriers by hospital staff to impede communication, you would probably come to the same conclusion. We also would probably be more understanding of patients suffering a medical failure. Something however difficult without experience first hand. It is unfortunate for patients particularly in severe cases who must educate not only their doctors but also insurers, employers and so on. I can see that more clearly now after my own medical mishap.

    • #29452
      drtowfigh
      Keymaster

      Thanks for this

      I helped a family member with a similar experience. Not hernia related, but was told info by her doctors that sounded wrong and dismissive. And if she hadn’t asked me to intervene and connect her with a doctor that had more skills and caring, she would have had a shorter life expectancy and poorer quality of life.

      My two cents: doctors are human. We are not infallible. Many don’t like conflict. Many shy away from situations that make them uncomfortable, such as confronting a patient who has a poor outcome. Some have personality disorders, just like non-doctors. Most are overworked and tired.

      It takes a lot of courage to admit mistakes, directly confront angry patients. Most medical systems are not organized enough to follow through with phone calls, messages, etc.

      I’m not making an excuse. We can be better as humans. Certainly, it’s no fault of the patient to fall into a ghosting/communication trap. I deal with it daily for my own patients, family and friends, pushing the system to get optimal timely care and attention.

    • #29460
      pinto
      Participant

      Thank you for that because society so valorizes the doctor’s role that we sometimes forget they are but human. They easily can become enmeshed in unrealistic expectations held. However, listening is so vital a skill that without it, diagnosis becomes impaired if not impossible. Not every doctor can have the “bedside manner” so vaulted but surely they must aim for it.

      A friend of mine, particularly meek, was drummed out of law school for that reason, I believe. He later became an archivist for the state of New York, a position and work that greatly matches his disposition. Similarly, surgeons who are unable to listen ought to seek occupational adjustment.

      What about however when (mis)listening is intended by the doctor? Whatever the reason, hardly would it be warranted. Such would likely be unethical. Unfortunately that is what I have faced. It reminds me of similar accounts read here at HT of doctors who seemingly shut their ears when facing their apparent surgical failure or intolerable pain by the patient. Maybe these doctors are in the wrong line of work.

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