Today I felt like a parent punishing a child. And I felt like I was going against the motto under which I was trained: The needs of the patient comes first.
But this time I felt that the lesson was necessary. I really do.
This was a 27 year old man I diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 5 months ago. He wasn't happy that I gave him the label. He wasn't happy that I told him he'd be on insulin for life (I can't blame him). His mother reported that he was in denial for a while. And perhaps out of frustration, or perhaps being passive-aggressive, or maybe he had a good reason to: He didn't show up for 2 of his appointments to see me. And skipped another appointment with one of the nurses and diabetes educator. And came late for another 2 appointments.
And so today, he showed up 30 mins late. I was still around though my nurse had already left for the day. And selfishly to an extent, I had a racquetball game to go to. Our clinic policy is if they are 15 mins late without calling then we consider that a no-show, so it didn't have to see him. I could have seen him (perhaps getting to my game late) if I wanted to. But perhaps to teach him a lesson about respecting my time, and not to take up other patients' precious time too (since latecomers almost invariably lead to my seeing other patients late), I refused to see him, and made him reschedule for a future date.
Perhaps it was harsh (and selfish?) of me, but really, he's done it one too many times. It has to stop. And so I hope the next time he comes, he comes on time.