Thursday, May 29, 2008

Designated Listener, Part II

Seems like there's a run of bad health luck in the lives of those around me here recently. I found myself, once again, sitting in as designated listener for a loved one (LO) during an important consultation. This time, I noticed a few eye-openers about the way my colleague conducted the visit, so here's three rules for MDs in the consultation room:
  1. Doctors who don't get appropriate touching should skip touching altogether.
    This guy often stood with hand on LO's shoulder or occasionally sat with hand on LO's knee. I prayed that LO would not haul off and smack him. Honestly, it was not the time or place for such touching, and, in any case, LO exudes 'don't touch me' from every pore of his body.
  2. Explain your thoughts, but don't dither.
    The doc was clearly puzzled by the situation and was thinking on his feet. As he mused about the possibilities in a roundabout, back-and-forth, sort of way, he finally came up with what I thought were three appropriate theories. LO concluded, not inappropriately, that this physician was fairly clueless about LO's condition.
  3. Explain, but don't over explain.
    The physician gave so many simplistic 'for examples' that he came off as patronizing. Patients may need simplification, but, here I completely agree with LO, this was WAY too much dumbing down.

As an aside, our consultant stood through most of the visit in a stance appropriate to a college defensive back. I assume that at some point in his career he was just that, but it was a little strange there in the examining room.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Great advice. You'd like to think it's commonsense.