My life as a Malaysian doctor in the United States.
Monday, September 19, 2011
It's hard sometimes to not take things personally, methinks. Or maybe I just need to develop a thicker face.But it's true, for me and many of my colleagues. While we supposedly know that it's just work, when something doesn't fall into place we sometimes take them to heart. It's something I have yet to learn well.
Take today; I received a message that a patient I had seen had a miscarriage. I saw this young lady a months ago for "thyroid dysfunction". Her thyroid labs were perfectly normal, but because she was gaining weight, was fatigued and was losing hair she was convinced her thyroid was underactive. Despite a pretty normal TSH and FT4.Between that visit and now, she got pregnant, and had a miscarriage. And despite the results, is convinced her thyroid is to blame. She called today, asking to see another endocrinologist for treatment of her 'thyroid problem'.
Being a father, I realize it's tragic to have a miscarriage. Being a physician, the logical side of the brain knows this was not anything to do with her thyroid gland, but there's still a side in your heart that feels a tinge of hurt realizing that a patient may blame you for something.
Indeed, over the years my colleagues and I have had numerous patients switching back and forth. Sometimes it may just be a matter of the physician's personality not being compatible with a patient's. After all, we're all different. While I've 'inherited' several patients in the years, I know I've had a few who requested a different physician follow their case instead. Sometimes, it may be because of something as stupid as my not wanting to prescribe pain medications (when it was their diabetes or hypothyroidism I was managing). Other times, they turned out to be unexpected especially after all the time you've invested making sure you explain things and answer their questions.
Life goes on, and we try to help the next patient.
But every time, like a spurned relationship, there remains a tinge of hurt and disappointment, admittedly.