Saturday, June 02, 2007

Disrespecting Patients

I've read about the ways that 'patients' are disempowered by caregivers, but I don't think I've been on the receiving end of it until recently.
A couple days ago, I had a second asthma attack bad enough for the emergency ward. (I sure hope this doesn't keep on happening.) Anyway, while in the emergency ward I experienced two different kinds of disrespectful treatment, one from a nurse and the other from a doctor.
Firstly, the nurse came up and asked how I was doing. I gasped out 'not very well' and he replied 'nonsense! You're fine!' I tried to explain that I was most definately not OK, but he just continued saying similar things. I understood that he was trying to calm me down, but I found it really disrespectful and patronising to be contradicted about my experience, and it left me feeling really scared that I might not get proper treatment because they might think I was faking it.
After he left, I overheard an interaction between him and another patient which made me realize that rather than just being hypersensitive, I was reacting to a real problem in this man's behavior. He was talking to someone who'd just had a stroke. First he cajoled them to 'give him a smile', and then said 'I knew it was hiding in there somewhere'. Later he said 'come on, big strong girl like you, you can push against my hand'. I found it really offensive how he was treating this other patient, and I would not be surprised if that patient found it demeaning as well.
Awhile later the doctor came. We told him about how I had another asthma attack about a week or two ago and had taken three days of prednisone and been using Symbicort 2-8 times a day (at least 2, more if I had trouble breathing). He first said 'why did you only take three days of prednisone?' in an accusing manner, and later lectured me about overusing the Symbicort, saying I should only take 2 a day. In both cases, I'd been following the doctor's orders - the emergency ward had given me the prednisone and arranged for my regular doctor to see me just as I finished it to decide on a more permanent treatment, and my regular doctor had told me to take the Symbicort at least twice a day and more if needed, but not more than 8 a day. I thought we'd made that pretty clear, but he seemed to think I'd done something wrong.
When he told me what to do (take Symbicort twice a day and use a regular symptomatic as needed), he said I should do as I was told so I wouldn't end up there again, which is pretty ridiculous since I did what the doctors had told me and still ended up in the emergency ward.

Labels: , ,


Blogger relvis said...

Free online dating site starts at, you dont have to pay anything check it out.
sign up for Free online dating

4:55 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

i feel for you..
i've only ever been to the emergency once in my life.. and that only because i was having severe and unbearable pain in my abdomen.. I could barely walk and so, while waiting for a while for a doctor to see me, i said.. where the "fudge" is the doctor.. and i'm NOT a disrespectful person. I was just in a lot of pain.
The doctor, on call on the other side of the curtain heard me and refused to see me till i showed him the 'appropriate' amount of respect. I literally was tearing up due to the intense pain (and i've been in pain!)..
Upon hearing this.. i tried to walk out of the hospital telling him that this was not the way to treat patients..
Luckily a nurse took pity on me and a senior doctor (who was not on call) decided to see me.
Doctors need to learn some serious bedside manner!
And oh, the pain subsided and thank GOD i haven't had to visit the emergency again..

Hope you and your asthma is doing alright!

11:18 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home