Friday, April 15, 2011
your specialist said what?
many a patient encounter begins with an ear full for me about the specialist my patient just saw. i usually give them a minute or two to vent, during which time i listen sympathetically, but i've learned to keep my mouth shut and then quickly redirect the conversation toward safer ground. who knows what the specialist really said? certainly not me. secretly though i can't believe some of the things people tell me. one of my patients said she went to a podiatrist and he never touched her feet. another patient said the specialist walked into the room, laughed at her, walked out, then billed her for the visit. another patient told me he saw a neurologist for a gait disturbance and the only question the neurologist asked him was are you having any difficulty swallowing. huh?
i am sure some of it is a lost in translation sort of thing. it has even happened to me, where a patient will come back and say, well you told me... and it's something i couldn't possibly imagine myself saying, like try putting salami on it or call me back if your cold isn't gone tomorrow.
regarding the specialists though, a week or so later, after hearing these wild reports, i always get a very nice consult letter that is thorough and appropriate to the purpose of the visit. i scratch my head. life goes on.