Paging Doctor Patient

If you ever saw the movie, The Doctor, you know that William Hurt played an arrogant and insensitive surgeon who had no compassion for his patients until he became one himself after being diagnosed with throat cancer. The movie is based on an old concept; that walking in the shoes of others can bring new understanding and empathy. I think everyone…especially those in the medical field, SHOULD see this movie at least once. In fact, I think all medical schools should MAKE their students watch this movie during a MANDATORY three-day stay in a hospital…as a patient! Yup! When I was a senior in college, I had to take a student teaching course to make sure I was “suited” for teaching. Unlike some of my friends, I actually enjoyed my student teaching courses. I think student teaching is a good way to weed out those who thought “What the hell was I thinking? Hello business school!” as soon as they stepped into the classroom from those that will still be teaching in 30 years. To me, it was fun to student teach because all I had to do was simply remember what I wanted and needed as a student and put those memories to good use…as a teacher. It wasn’t hard to imagine…because I had been there. At one time, every teacher was a student, but maybe not every doctor has been a patient. Sometimes, I think patients can be lost and forgotten because their illness becomes the focal point rather than the person WITH the illness. I was taught to say a “person with a disability” not a “disabled person” because to me the person is more important than the disability. A patient is more than their illness…just like a student is more than their grades. And although teachers typically have several months to get to know their students and a doctor may only have a short time, believing that your doctor truly cares about you and what you’re going through — and that he or she conveys that in your time together — is so much better. Feeling that compassion and concern builds trust, and when dealing with a person;s health, what could be more important than that?


One thought on “Paging Doctor Patient

  1. Oh, I so agree. I loved this movie.

    Peeves me to no end when a doctor (or other medical professional) makes a comment such as “the flavored barium doesn’t taste bad” but when I ask them they admit that they have never tasted the flavored or unflavored barium.

    I’ve hate being told “it won’t hurt” by individuals who have never experienced the particular procedure. “You might feel a little pressure” doesn’t even come close to describing tube being threaded through your nose to look at your esophagus.

    I don’t think they should have to experience EVERYTHING but at least don’t assume to know what it is like to experience the test/procedure.

    I would rather hear “it’s going to hurt like hell for a few minutes” or “it tastes terrible but the taste doesn’t last long” rather than have it minimized so if I do experience pain/retching, I don’t feel like a wimp. I can deal with the pain if I know to expect it.

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