Patient: A word to describe a person seeking medical care from a medical services provider.
Or what people tell us to be all the time when we are waiting for something and have waited too long. I wonder if there is an overlap in those two meanings.
I wonder, as does Lene Anderson in the Seated View if we are using the right word to describe us, the people seeking medical care.
Because of the ever prevailing attitudes in the US, and probably other countries as well, the medical doctor is looked upon as some sort of a miracle worker, adored by all and obeyed by all. He or she usually introduces him or herself as ‘doctor so and so’ and addresses us by our first names immediately setting himself in an authoritative position and us in a subservient one. We as ‘patients’ are supposed to listen and never question. In fact, the MD not only does not allow questions from us, the patients, but also has no time for them. He has 8 minutes to diagnose and recommend treatment and then with a patronizing pat on the shoulder, he is out the door to do the same thing with the next patient.
I wonder if we demand to be seen as equal partners in our medical care, as co-leaders, if you will, our medical care would get better and our doctors would be more informed.
I don’t know about you, but I know exactly what my body is doing, how I feel, how I felt yesterday and what I did or didn’t do to change things so much I needed medical advice.
Most of us have access to Dr Google and know how to research what our medical problems can be. Not that I advocate relying on the Innerwebs for medical advice, but it can be a great tool for medical research.
In my case, I had no medical insurance from the time I left my parents’ house until you kind people provided me with Medicare when I hit 65. So any medical advice either had to be paid for by me or it was a DIY affair. Normally, I took care of whatever it was by myself and my body healed itself with no medical intervention.
I demand that I not be called by my first name unless I can do the same with my MD. I ask them after they introduce themselves as ‘doctor’, what their momma named them and we proceed from there. I tell them I have too many clients that are already named doctor and I have trouble telling all of you apart. First names, please. Or we can both use our respective titles. But there would be a lot of spraying of the word ‘doctor’ around if we both did that. Lemme tellya though, when we get past the name problem, the patronizing stops. And fast.
Let’s take a more active role in our own medical care, demand to be equals, demand to have our questions answered and stop being subservient. Betcha medical care would become more interactive.
And probably better.