Saturday, August 16, 2008

Patient loyalty

Some patients are very loyal to their doctor. They hate seeing another doctor. They will believe only if their favourite doctor tells them, but their loyalty land them into trouble sometimes.
A patient of mine, a 50-year-old diabetic, developed sweating and mild chest pain. As I was away for a day, he consulted another doctor. An Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) was done and the doctor found some changes suggestive of early heart attack. The patient was asked to get admitted in an Intensive care Unit. Not believing the doctor, the patient waited for a day to see me. That night the patient became worse and he died on way to Hospital.
Being a one man practise, many a time it is difficult for me to arrange substitute medical care when I am out of station. Though I tell them to see the nearest available doctor in case of emergency, many are reluctant. When I come back from a break of few days many of these loyal patients accuse me of orphaning them. Their affection make me feel good ,but at the same time the accusation make me feel guilty.

1 comment:

CALpumper said...

I am so sorry Doc.

You cannot feel guilty. You explain to your patients the situation and ultimately it is up to them to take care of themselves.

Maybe stop being so nice and reliable? Maybe stop being an attentive Doctor?

No. You are you and again, you do your part and the patient has to do theirs. Again, I am sorry to hear the news of this patient.