It has been interesting since my article, “An Annual Checkup with an Insulting Surprise”, was published on Doximity. In just one week, there have been over 100 comments in response to the article, and I’ve been fascinated reading them!
If you haven’t read the article, here’s the link. http://annfbeach.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Doximity-insult.pdf . You have to be a Doximity subscriber to see all the comments, however.
First of all, I’m thrilled that people are reading the article, thinking about it, sharing it and commenting. I love knowing it struck a chord with people.
Secondly, thanks to many of you for the kind and supportive comments about pediatric hospitalists, and hospitalists in general. You know, I thought for a moment there, I was crazy, listening to the doctor’s comments during my checkup, and you have all allayed those fears. And yes, I did find a new doctor and will not be going back to this one; a lot of you sounded concerned about that.
I’m pleased that the main theme of the responses has been that what happened was inappropriate, and none of us should badmouth other specialties. You all echoed that each of us brings different skills to the table, and we need to respect each other’s specialties.
There were a few comments pining for the old days, when doctors took care of their patients in all settings (inpatient and outpatient), and recognition that it is a new world now and this model is less and less common.
Interestingly, a few people commented that I may have sounded like I was bragging, and got off on the wrong foot with my doctor, by opening with “I should probably tell you I’m a pediatric hospitalist.” That maybe I sounded like I was expecting special treatment. This never occurred to me, and I have given it some thought. I learned that some of you always tell your personal physician that you are a doctor and some of you never do. I have to say, in the role of pediatric hospitalist, when I meet a sick child and their parents for the first time, I appreciate it when one of the parents tells me they are a doctor. It allows me to use a common vocabulary and explain things on a different level. I feel like it speeds things up. So, I have always felt like I should give a doctor who is seeing me as a patient that same courtesy.
As I always do (because I’m a nerd) I went to the literature. I found almost nothing on this topic. I found Osler’s admonition against treating anyone differently; always focus on the disease. I found several medical associations’ recommendations against treating doctor colleagues you know personally. But I found nothing about whether knowing your patient is a doctor or not changes care, for better or worse.
A couple of people thought I could have been offensive saying “I saw enough well children…I like the hospital where everyone is sick.” Again, it never occurred to me, but I’ll keep it in mind for the future.
Some people wanted to hear my doctor’s side of the story. I don’t know her side. Perhaps she is burned out, was having a bad day, is depressed, or just has bad interpersonal skills. Perhaps she’ll see the article and let us know her side of it.
I loved loved the comment “Nice job making lemons into lemonade with your inspiring article.”
Your love for your patients, your passion for medicine, and your pride in what you do came through loud and clear. I am proud to be one of you.
I am a writer. If you’d like to read more of my writing, please visit my author website http://annfbeach.com/ . Please sign up (for free) for my very occasional newsletter. I promise not to clog your inbox. Having more readers will help me get my just-finished book published!