Top 10 Peeves Doctors Have About Patients
Published: Wednesday, February 22nd 2012
Physicians are overworked. They’re seeing too many patients in too little time, but they’re still supposed to be compassionate. And no matter how well they do, how caring they are, how friendly and open, there are things about patients that will still press all the right buttons. (The same goes for colleagues, apparently.)
Here doctors’ biggest pet peeves about patients:
If you don’t have the correct information, there’s little chance that you’ll come to the right diagnosis. But patients will get embarrassed when discussing their health. The reason this can get frustrating for physicians is because — except for extreme cases — you’ve seen it all.
9. Not knowing their own meds
This is especially an issue with Medicare patients, who often take a number of different medications. And sometimes what they and their physician's have to deal with is that fact that their memories might not be as sharp as they once were. Being confronted with a baggie of various pills is often no help to anyone. Unfortunately, there's not much that can be done either, unless you've prescribed them.
8. Not following up
Patients don’t really understand the way physicians work. So patients sometimes skip the follow-up appointment after taking a medicine or getting an out-of-office test. You can suggest a follow up until you’re blue in the face, but if your patient doesn’t see the purpose for it, they probably won’t bother.
7. “Oh by the way, doc…”
Also known as the doorknob question. You might have spent 15 minutes discussing a relatively small problem with a patient, and just as you’re on your way out the door, they bring up the real reason for the visit. Typically these are large issues or they are embarrassing.
The result of these visits is usually that you’re late to the next appointment. Depending on how serious it is, the best way to combat this issue is to explain that the problem should really be handled in a whole appointment just for it. Sometimes it's something that can't be put off. In that case, physicians just have to accept it as a hazard of their job
6. Patients who attempt to get free care time after time
Eventually the free ride has to end. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. There’s a certain brazenness to a person who comes back time and time again without paying and expects to continue getting treatment. There’s only so long that a physician can let a freeloading patient slide.
The fact is, it’s still a business, and there needs to be payment of some kind, especially if the patient wants to keep returning.
5. Patients who like the attention
A patient may constantly be showing up with small issues, or maybe he or she is bringing the whole family to an outing at the doctor’s office. Even if they do have a legitimate issue, not every doctor has the time — or energy at the end of the day — to pander to someone craving the spotlight.
4. Patients calling about issues in an unrelated specialty
Not all doctors were made alike, but some patients don’t realize they can’t go to their OB-GYN about that blemish on their skin. It may seem like common sense that the doctor will only be able to help if the issue is in their field of study, but sometimes issues are brought that aren't appropriate. You wouldn't go to an immigration lawyer when you need an injury lawyer.
3. They try to diagnose themselves
The internet is a wonderful place, but it does mean that there’s a lot more self-taught doctors out there. They might think they know what’s wrong with themselves because they Googled their symptoms before making the trip to their doctor. And sometimes their problem is a simple fix that they can handle on otheir own. But combating a self-diagnosed patient can be difficult — especially if the diagnosis is wrong.
2. They’re looking for a quick miracle fix
They might be looking for specific drugs — like analgesics or psychotropics — rather than a real fix, or they might be looking for a quick fix to something that might take months — such as obese patients opting for surgery without even trying to lose weight. The biggest problem here, is that when it comes to prescribing medicine, some doctors don’t have the time and find it easier to succumb to the demand.
1. They don’t follow instructions
Either through forgetfulness, laziness or some unknown reasoning, patients come seeking the help of their physicians and then disregard all that they’re told. Whether it’s prescriptions that aren’t filled, medicines that aren’t taken for the full time prescribed or eating the food that you’ve told them not to, patients don’t always follow directions.
Non-compliance is understandably frustrating, because how can you help someone who ignores the advice given?