Monday, September 24, 2007

The Bad Doctor

*I wrote this last year when we were first consulting with a specialist who did not become our doctor. Just found it last week; thought it was a funny counterpoint to my thoughts on Good Doctors:

There are just some things you don't want to hear your doctor say. Things like, "Oh, my God!" and "Nurse, come and take a look at this!" Last week* I added, "Do you want my honest opinion?" to the list, and in fact discovered a whole host of frustrating things a doctor can do that we hadn't come across before.

We were really eager to see this specialist - not at Children's - to talk about how to go forward with treatment option A (too technical to worry about here). After this appointment, we were really eager to get back to Children's.

For one thing, I don't think we've ever been interrupted at Chidlren's when we were asking questions about Thomas's care. This doctor not only interrupted our questions, he kept rolling his eyes when we were asking them. ROLLING HIS EYES! Have you done that in public since you were fifteen? It was like this:

Us: Doctor, I'm concerned about what you're saying [specialist rolls eyes] because it's the opposite of what we'd heard up until now about this issue. Our oncologist said . . .

Him: Well, he's right, when he says that XYZ is one common after effect of treatment B, but [insert long circular explanation of XYZ side effects].

Us: Um, we were going to say [specialist rolls eyes] that he said treatment B was not a good choice. Did we understand that wrong?

Him: [Sighs] Well, it's true that option B isn't used that often, and that's because of [reiterates side effects of treatment that we're not likely to choose].

Apparently, we were exhausting him, which put him past the point of logic.

Him: [Yawns, fidgets] Some people choose option A, and some people choose option B.

Us: Yeah, that's what we heard.

Him: [Rolls eyes]

Us: But when you say some people, how many people are you talking about?

Him: A certain number choose A, and a certain number choose B.

Us: But we've heard that the number of people in Thomas's situation who choose option B is close to zero -

Him: It's not zero.

Me, in my own head: Everyone will think I'm exaggerating when I tell them about this conversation.

Us: So, in Thomas's case, you're saying you thing option A is be-

Him: Well, if Thomas's tumor were in a different location, and he were older, and there were more of the tumor left in the brain, ...

Me: [rolls eyes]

Scott tried to appeal to his humanity. (Maybe he has more patience than I do, and maybe I depleted my supply of eye-roller patience in my years of teaching public high school.)

Scott: If this was your child, Dr. Specialist, what would you do, option A or option B?

Him: Do you want my honest opinion?

Us, in our own heads: Nah. We took the four hour round-trip that this consultation is going to take and exposed our chemo'd kid to your waiting room so that you could lie to us.

Scott: Yes, that would be helpful.

We left. And that guy not only didn't get to be involved in Thomas's care; he's not even at his own facility anymore. I like to think he rolled his eyes at some mom of a special-needs toddler in need of cancer advice, and she gave Dr. Specialist a concussion.

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At 6:03 AM, Blogger Wedding Girl said...

So good to hear that MOST of your doctors are not like this. ugh.

At 7:46 AM, Blogger Lizard said...

How you sat there, I don't know. I could imagine my hands wanting to reach toward his neck....

At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You were a saint to put up with that "bad doctor". Wonder how many sick children and parents he frustrated with his approach before he left (or was removed). Some doctors should stick to research and leave patient contact to the "good doctors" who have some sensitivity and humility.

At 7:53 AM, Blogger sarah's_mom said...

"I like to think he rolled his eyes at some mom of a special-needs toddler in need of cancer advice, and she gave Dr. Specialist a concussion."
Aahhhhhh ...THAT's my girl!!!! I love you!

At 12:36 PM, Blogger sweetpea said...

ugh. that's disgusting.

At 4:14 AM, Blogger Ctelblog said...

Hmmmn... Yeah been there. What they hate is some no nothing parent questioning their judgement and wasting their precious time when they've been to med school and everything. Sadly, these doctors are often not right because they see the disease not the patient. Luckily, not all doctors are like this.


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