Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lessons I Hope You Learn Along the Way #1 (medical professionals)

Doctors, nurses, secretaries, and medical supply vendors, please know ~  You hold in your power the ability to help, and the ability to hurt.  Please use your powers carefully.

We had many amazing medical professionals walk through my dad's life, as he battled cancer.  In general the level of care that he received was good and for that we are very grateful.

But there were a few people who handled themselves in unprofessional and occasionally infuriating ways, which caused great stress to myself and my family.

Mistakes are understandable.  But no one should have the burdens of insensitivity, unprofessionalism, or ineptness added to the burdens of a terminal diagnosis, or any illness for that matter. 

Some of the requests below seem basic and shouldn't need to be said.  But given our experiences, I think it's worth putting out there, in the hopes that other patients receive more thoughtful care.


Please introduce yourself to the patient, before talking about personal things with your coworkers. 

Please read the charts and become familiar with the person's history before asking a barrage of questions.   

Please weigh your words and choose your inflections carefully.

Please follow through with your staff to be sure that details don't slip through the cracks. 

Please communicate regularly with other doctors and personnel who are treating your patient.  And if the patient passes away, please let everyone know in a timely manner.

Please schedule tests or exams in a timely manner.

Please keep on top of needed medical supplies.

Please make sure that all medical supplies are thoroughly cleaned and operating properly before delivery.

Please return phone calls. But not with your butt, because it's extremely frustrating to be on the phone with a doctor, but not be heard by said doctor.

Please treat your patients with the same care that you would want for your family.  

And when delivering bad news to your patients, please make them feel as if their needs are the only things on your mind in that moment- because I can assure you, your help is the only thing that is on their minds in that moment.  

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