Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

Good Doctor Patient Etiquette

on May 31, 2014

As a continuous patient of several doctors, I value the special relationship between me and each of my doctors.

Thursday’s edition of Mind Your Body section by medical oncolongist Dr Ang Peng Tiam wrote an apt article on this topic. I admired his objectivity and ability to reflect on his actions taken on a foreign patient who berated his nursing staff.

I personally had an uncomfortable episode with my surgeon last wednesday.

I felt humiliated by his unkind and irrevelant comments on my other body parts which did not come under his professional purview.

If this was done 1-1 between ourselves, the humiliation would have been more private than in front of an intern. But it does not mean, it made it any less humiliating on me.

When I shared with Chicken, she likened it to paying for a service but getting slapped for it. I appreciated Chicken’s objectivity in this matter and she described it as she saw it, plain and simple.

I struggled with a decision over Wednesday till today, Saturday. I was caught up with the medical evacuation of a colleague from Batam to Singapore and let this sit on my back burner till I was calmer and able to discern better.

After reflecting, I felt the need to write an email to this surgeon for 2 reasons;

1. To let him know that I felt humiliated by his cruel comments.

2. His method of approach to me as a patient was unacceptable.

In fairness, perhaps he was not aware of his callous remarks. Still, I felt the need to check him so that he refrains from such unacceptable comments or remarks to others, who may be more litigious in nature. I did feel like taking up a legal suit against him but I knew it will destroy him. I decided to let it go.

Friendship never existed between this surgeon and I. If it did, I would have attributed that to him knowing me on a personal level and the closeness we may have to josh. But, to me it was still a cruel comment nonetheless.

Whatever it is, I quote Dr Ang Peng Tiam (I am not related to Dr Ang though we share same last name), ” I continue to ponder” & decide if my relationship as surgeon and patient ends here.

Doctor patient relationships are important as it is pivotal to patient care. Once the relationship fails to exist, I am happy to end it professionally by voting with my feet.


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