Doctors are one of the most important groups of people in our society. Their service to the society has always been upheld as sacrosanct. Our society regards doctors as saviors sent from above for all the right reasons. But doctors are also humans and sometimes they can goof up too. Sometimes their goof-ups lie in the statements that they make to get their points across. Once a doctor was heard saying, “Did you always weigh this much?” This is just one example of many inappropriate things that doctors sometimes can say to their patients.
Patients put up with a lot of things like from sudden cancellation of an appointment to wrong treatments. But patients form relationships based on their interactions with their doctors. A relationship that a patient share with his or her physician is intimate and personal. Patients entrust their doctors with their health and their possibility of recovery. Hence, a doctor should be mindful of how he or she talks to their patients as it can leave a lasting and even a negative impact on them. Here is a list of things that doctors shouldn’t say to their patients.
1. “We Are Really Caught Up”
This is the last thing that a patient wants to hear from a doctor, especially if she or he has been waiting for hours for their consultations. Patients can wait ‘patiently’ for their turns to come as they want to consult a doctor regarding their problems. Appointments can get delayed for a lot of reasons but blurting out a statement like this to a patient would only increase their sense of frustration. It is important to remember that patients have busy lives too and when they take out time for their that visitations, they are losing out on a lot of things.
2. “Don’t Worry, This Won’t Hurt A Lot.”
Some doctors can be little too confident about their dexterity and acumen. So, they would often tell their patients not to worry. But, the truth is that there are many procedures that naturally come with some amount of pain, regardless of a doctor’s expertise. And patients know this truth very well. So, it is better if some doctors don’t use this line on their patients.
3. “I Know What You Are Going Through”
This is a very tricky statement and a hugely subjective one. A doctor cannot really fathom the trauma or pain that a patient goes through after being diagnosed with a condition or going through a surgery, unless the doctor himself or herself has gone through the same experience personally. This statement comes from good intention for sure, but it is important to remember that a doctor shouldn’t disregard a person’s experience or journey. Empathy is a wonderful quality to show at this point. So, a better statement would be, “I can only imagine what you must be feeling right now.”
4. “I Am Sure There Is Nothing Wrong”
A doctor says this to instill hope in his or her patients. And that’s a wonderful gesture. But giving false hope to patients can break them, especially if they find the results to be otherwise. They will not be able to come to terms with the reality as they would want to hang on to the false hope given by their doctors. Hence, saying such things can be counter-productive in a big way sometimes. So, the best thing to do is to tell them to wait for the results to be absolutely sure.
An informal survey has found out that physicians use this a lot. But it is an absolutely unprofessional way of handling a mishap. Admitting to one’s follies is a professional and ethical way of conduct. And if a doctor has goofed up, it is important that he or she comes clean to their patients about that. Patients will respect such doctors more for their sense of ethics.
So, these statements need to be avoided by the doctors to make sure that patients can form trusting relationships with their doctors.