Wednesday, April 15, 2009

One of those days

Just handed off the endo pager. I have to say this was a horrid, tiresome call week. I feel burnt out. And to top it off I came back to my office to read a nasty message from a patient accusing me of misdiagnosing her.
I went back and reviewed my note. I saw her over a month ago, and told her there was probably nothing to worry (was seeing her for some slightly abnormal labs). I identified a couple of medications she was taking that is known to interfere with this test, and so suggested she stops those meds, return to see us in 2 weeks to repeat the tests to see if they normalize now, for if not, I told her a CT scan of the abdomen may be indicated (you can probably guess what I was seeing her for). Even set her up for a lab appointment and gave her a urine container to begin collecting so that she could drop that off on her return date.
She no-shows. Despite us sending reminder slips. And on the day she didn't show up, my office called and reminded her to reschedule. No word from her.
And now, over a month later, she's pissed because some other doctor apparently found something. And sent us a nasty note.
I went through my notes, my orders, and even the lab appointments. Spoke to the front desk and lab techs to identify if we missed something. And it's now clear- the patient herself did not show up despite having picked the return date herself. And she never returned our calls. And so the workup was never completed. And now she's mad at me?
It's clear what I did was appropriate and that this was a fault of the patient's. But speaking as a person, really, even if it was the patient's fault, sometimes having mad or angry patients get to you at a personal level. You want to think of yourself as a people person, and that you are there to help the patients (even if they don't want that sometimes). And so, sometimes things like this hits you deep.
I've been a physician only 8 years. And out in practice on my own only 7 months. I don't know how the veteran doctors out there take it. I know I shouldn't let these get to me; I wonder though if I'll ever get to a stage where I'm immune to negative comments, even if they were unjustified.
However, I found this inspiring picker-upper which cheered up me some. You should check it out on YouTube. A breath of fresh air.


Blogger Leanne said...

I don't think anyone can truly be immuned to negative comments; whether you're a physician or a regular Joe/Joan. It's the same for me even if I tell myself not to bother.

I suppose it's because we take pride in our work and our knowledge, and when that comes into question, it's a bitter pill to swallow especially when we feel we did not commit that error.

Cheer up though. For every nay sayer, there're probably nine more that appreciate your work.

2:14 PM  
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