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Patients Need to be Educated. Are Some Physicians too Ignorant?

The other day I was shocked to run into a friend I hadn’t seen recently and to see this  formally  physically fit verbal person limping gingerly with the help of a walking stick sickened me as I listened to the story – and PERFECT example why communication between patient and physician is paramount to that patients well-being.

A few years ago my bone on bone left hip needed a bone doctor.  Before I could get to the local appointment with a bone doctor, the pain sent me to a Prompt Care after a call to my primary physician, Karen Eady, M.D.   The doctor ordered x-rays – yes, arthritis and didn’t do anything further since I had an appointment with a local orthopedic doctor in a few days.

The orthopedic doctor didn’t say much of anything but talked in terms of an operation and suggested several over the counter meds for the pain.  I take meds for my lungs and other medical conditions and know non-prescription drugs can counteract with each other the same as prescription drugs can and cause huge problems.  I’m leery.   That said and after a non-informative brief discussion, he walked away and I called after him, “Doctor, what do I have?”

“Arthritis” he called back then disappeared around the corner.   Okay.  But I had expected him to tell me what I didn’t know and give me the type of arthritis – there are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis.

Sometime later I complained to another doctor about the encounter and he laughed and said orthopedic docs never communicate – sort of a ‘rule’ and laughed again.  I grinned but told him that’s wrong.  By then, I had visited one of the University of Washington Medical Center’s orthopedic surgeons and he educated me what I had and what it was doing and what we could do about it.

I told my laughing doctor the U surgeon DID inform me what was going on and gave me options.  He seemed surprised that any orthopedic doc spoke more than 10 words to a patient.   I shrugged it off and decided that the performance in the operating room must be all that counted.

Seeing and listening to my friend the other day though made me realize that the problem with doctors who do not/can not communicate with their patients is that they must not DO NOT LISTEN to their patients either!  Her complaints were ignored by her doctor and it seems to be a big surprise to him that she now has serious medical problems, not just the replaced hip and another operation to fix what should never have happened had he listened to her!

I suggested that my friend run, not walk to the University of Washington Medical Center for a through exam and get things resolved.  That she not waste any more time – that she not do what I did all those years ago.

Do not waste one moment on an ignorant physician, folks.

Without exception, every doctor I’ve met at the UWMC is a communicator…they listen.

Orthopedic doctors who can’t communicate with their patients?  Let them operate on themselves.  A physician who can’t respect their patient enough to communicate with them is not one who listens to them either – in my opinion as a patient.

More later…thanks for listening… Sharon O’Hara

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