Not all doctors are assholes. But a lot of them are still crazy.
Just like lawyers, physicians are either loved or hated. If a lawyer is trying to keep you out of jail, he’s the best ever. If he’s trying to put you there, he’s lower than whale poop. Doctors seem to be rated by the same scale. If a doctor is working to rid you of cancer, he’s pretty stellar. If you die, then your family probably won’t give him a good review on the Press Ganey satisfaction survey.
In the work world, I really don’t care if doctors are naughty or nice. I just want to get through the day without too much violence or profanity. I prefer someone that I can easily get along with, but you get what you get. Most of the time, they are either just like me, neutral, you know, just trying to get a job done with the least amount of drama, or they’re way off the scale, in a bad way. I mean bad like Hannibal Lecter on a bad day. They’re always doing bad crap that will rapidly get everyone involved in a big fat lawsuit. In their insanity, they can’t even comprehend that I’m not trying to be an asshole. That my one and only wish is to get through the day without some lawyer calling to say, “how did you allow this surgeon to leave six lap sponges and a hemostat in this poor grandmother? We’re not only going to sue you for a gadzillion bucks, but we’re going to the state board to take your license…” But, when I try to search for the lost sponges before the patient actually leaves the room, the doctors curse and yell. “It’s not in the *@#*!%!! patient !” Or they will fly into a rage when I mention that this new turn in the game plan is NOT clearly spelled out on the surgical consent.” Somehow the nurses have become the policemen of the OR. This can make a day a little tough.
On the other hand, I have found that some doctors may go the other way, as in nice. Believe me, they are far and few between, but it’s pretty cool to have a nice person once in a while. The other day, I witnessed a surgeon go to a patients house to pick them up. When this patient had recovered, the surgeon again took time to drive them home. He even made the resident go along to “help out”. The resident said that he walked the patient in the house helped them change and tucked him into bed and then locked the door on the way out… wow.
I thought this doctor should get the Saint award… until today.
Dr. Smith is an ear doctor and he’s new to my hospital. He replaced another ear doctor who was an insane flaming hemorrhoid of a human being. It’s quite funny (to me), Dr. Jones didn’t say two words to anyone. All other staff was considered beneath him. Then he suddenly quit to become a radio talk show personality. Now Dr. Jones talks to everyone all day long .
Anyhow, this new guy, Dr. Smith, is just as skilled a surgeon as the old guy, but he’s actually really nice too. Well, last week Dr. Smith told me this story about helping out one of his patients. I still can’t believe it. Although, Dr. Smith has passed everyone else to the title of “Dr. Saint,” he’s still a little touched in the sanity department.
Anyhow, he had a patient that was totally deaf and was getting a tumor removed that would restore most of his hearing. This patient was a rural 12 year old boy. He and his family were very poor and lived a long way from the hospital. The family was not only poor but they were Amish. They said that they would not take a “hand out” and they couldn’t possible afford to stay in a hotel for the treatment, much less the recovery period. They said that they couldn’t even afford to make the trip back for his follow-up visit. “The surgery will have to be cancelled” sayeth the family. So, to enable the patient to keep his appointment and get the much needed surgery, he invited the family to stay with him in his home. He admitted that he didn’t know these people. And after he agreed to let these people, move into his home for the duration, then made several discoveries. First, these people were Amish. As Amish, they didn’t partake of any modern conveniences, nor did they have any idea of how anything worked. Dr. Smith said that it was “a little stressful in the beginning. The simple things like the microwave ovens and dishwashers were “totally foreign”… but they “seemed to be pretty smart, very practical and very fast learners.”
I said, “wow, you let these people, whom you didn’t even know, stay in your house?”
He said, “yeah, they were Amish people. They were religious and prayed every day. If you can’t trust these people, who can you trust?” Then he went on, “and you know the funny part, I didn’t know how many of them were actually there. At one time, I counted thirteen of them, but I didn’t really know.”
I asked, “but why didn’t you know?” They were coming in and leaving all the time. They were bringing food and praying … and they all dressed the same. It’s hard to get a real number if the total is greater than ten and they look similar and all dress in the same clothes.” I didn’t understand and he said, “they all dressed in black and with the same dress suit. The women all wore the same black dress.” I laughed, “I bet your neighbors looked at you funny, with all that going on. People in all black coming and going.” He said, “you know, this is the funny part. They didn’t care at all. All of this happened over the week of Halloween. They must have thought it was some sort of Halloween thing.”
We all laughed again. The entire OR crew agreed that Dr. Smith did disserve the “Dr. Saint” award.