I promise this is not a doctor bashing blog (I know the majority do great things every day), but I’m feeling ever so slightly grumpy after recent events.
So here’s the thing. As a patient, I just wish that sometimes doctors would be a little more… what’s the word I’m looking for… empathetic.
I can count on one hand the number of doctors I’ve seen who seem to care. Genuinely care I mean, not just asking what they can do to help. Surely ‘caring’ should be a prerequisite for getting accepted to med school, and attending an Empathy class should be compulsory. There’s bound to be a half an hour slot right between Dissection 101 and the What’s the Longest You Can Keep Your Patient Waiting seminar. It seems to me that a number of other important classes have already been cut from the training curriculum; The Importance of A Good Bed Side Manner and Explain, Don’t Patronise are two that immediately spring to mind.
Hey, if ’empathy’ is too big an ask, I’d be happy to scale back all my expectations and just settle with some good old-fashioned listening. This very basic skill only requires the ownership of two working ears, so no additional NHS funding will be necessary.
Yes, yes, I do of course understand that they’re a very busy bunch up at my local rheumatology department, and that it’s no doubt overrun with 1000’s of other people in exactly the same boat as me – all gnashing their teeth in exasperation and wanting a little more support. I am also well aware that there’s bugger all that can be done to cure Lupus, and most of the treatments are always going to be hit and miss. It’s all about the ‘management’.
But here’s the thing: (I might as well speak on behalf of all the 1000’s of fed up, teeth gnashers out there) we would like to point out that we’re more than just an NHS hospital number. We’re also more than a set of blood results or a bi-annual appointment that needs to be checked off the consultants to-do list. Some of us are getting mighty fed up with being fobbed off, patronised, pacified and then packed off till the next time, with absolutely no sign of any improvements or progress whatsoever.
Ok, grumpy rant over for the day. I’ll now hobble off my soap box and go take my meds like the good little patient that I am.