Recently, a video went viral when a woman complained about the lengthy wait time at a clinic. On video, we see the physician ask if the patient still wants to be seen. The patient declines to be seen, yet complains patients should be informed they will not be seen in a timely manner.
The frustrated physician replies, “Then fine … Get the hell out. Get your money and get the hell out.” While we do not witness events leading up to the argument between doctor and patient, we do know the staff at the front desk called the police due to threats made by the patient to others.
My father has been a practicing pediatrician in our community for 47 years. As I type these words, he is dying in a hospital bed. We have worked side by side for the last 16 years. It is difficult to make it through the day, desperately hoping to hear his voice one last time in the clinic hallway. He was carrying a full patient load before an unexpected cardiac arrest ended his career. The patient load doubled overnight; it is a burden I am carrying alone.
Over the last twenty-one days, patients have provided 15 home-cooked meals. Some have assisted by car-pooling my children or taking care of them when my presence at a last minute hospital care coordination meeting was required. Others have simply offered a helping hand, by filing charts, running errands, or landscaping the grounds. This is the physician-patient relationship as it was meant to be, simple, beautiful, and perfect.
Medicine is not a hospitality industry. Patients are not customers and physicians are not restaurant wait staff. We gave up our youth to become educated, skilled, and compassionate. Saving the life of human beings is not equivalent to ordering a hamburger and having it served your way. Physicians genuinely work hard to serve patients at their most desperate hour. Remember, we are also human beings, who unequivocally need and deserve your mercy.
*Video Reference: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/gone-viral/os-gainesville-doctor-patient-argument-20171012-story.html