No Bedside Manner Here15 Jul 2011
Today I read a blog, written by a young man named Carl, who has Cerebral Palsy and Scoliosis.... He was discussing the way in which specialists have referred to him in the third person, as if he isn’t in the room.
And on one occasion recently, in the presence of several professors and doctors that were examining him, he was subjected to hearing things like “He has severely deformed hands,” and “He would enormously benefit from Botox, for someone in his condition it may be the only way.”
Carl goes on to talk about the way he was made to feel by doctors and specialists as a child, with their blunt comments. You can view his blog here; http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/Hey-doc-Ive-got-a-name-and-Im-not-bloody-stupid/
It got me thinking about when I have visited doctors and specialists throughout the years, and the way they have this special gift of making you feel insignificant and just one of many ‘numbers’ that they deal with all the time.
I too suffer from severe Scoliosis, and recall going into a new doctor’s office once, for a script or something very simple, and as soon as I entered his room, he peered up at me from over the top of his glasses and said; ‘oh, your spinal curvature is quite severe isn’t it’. Now I remember feeling quite confident on this day, but I surely didn’t feel that way when I left the medical centre, to return to my car. Deflated from his insensitive comment, I wondered if everyone was staring at me, thinking about my horribly deformed spine.
I’m nowhere near perfect, with bent limbs, a curved spine and barrel chest, but I do my damndest to give off the level of confidence that I feel on the inside. I cope wonderfully in the skin I’m in, until someone hurtfully points it out. As my 91 year old grandfather says; ‘I feel like I’m still 21 on the inside’. Well, I feel as though I’m a non-vertically challenged, straight bodied person who isn’t disabled, on the inside. Until, someone points out otherwise.
I know doctors are very talented and smart, but would it kill them to have a bit of compassion when it comes to interacting with their patients?!?