Is this your Physician?

Speaking of stress, let’s look at a typical (albeit hypothetical) Physician – patient interaction at a follow-up visit:

Physician: “Good morning Mr. Farnswinkle, how are you feeling today?”

Patient: “I’m feeling OK doc, how are you?”

Physician: (never looking directly at Mr. Farnswinkle, concentrating instead on the results in the patient’s records) As usual, too much work very little time… Let’s talk about your labs; your cholesterol levels are still not where we want them, have you been taking the medication I prescribed?

Translation :

  1. The Physician is telling Mr. Farnswinkle he’s pressed for time, and needs to keep moving in order to meet the day’s work schedule (warning! He’s not about to take the time to do any more than he has to in order to move on to the next patient).
  2. The Physician never looks at Mr. Farnswinkle, focusing only on the chart (warning! he’s treating the numbers, not the human being in front of him).

Patient: (understandably confused, after all he has been sticking to his medication regimen religiously) Yes, I’ve been taking the medication every day.

Physician: What about your diet then? Have you been eating healthy?


The numbers are not quite what the Physician expected-assumption; the patient is doing something wrong that is messing up his treatment. Next step (from the Physician’s perspective) is to run through the various aspects of the treatment and figure out where (not why) the patient “messed up.”

Patient: (sheepishly) Well… that has been a little bit more difficult, I have strayed a bit from the diet, but I have lost a few pounds…

Physician: How about your exercise regimen of walking every day?

Patient: (now visibly uncomfortable) Well mostly not, you see I have a very demanding job, and by the time I get home at night I’m usually so tired all I want to do is sit in front of the TV and veg out to forget about what’s going on in the office…


The patient tries to explain his approach, and even tries to give the Physician reasons why the prescribed regimen is not working for him (unfortunately, this goes unheard by the Physician who is pressed for time, and not interested in Mr. Farnswinkle’s lifestyle, and how his treatment may be disrupting it).

Physician: (smugly and slightly irritated) Well, how do you expect to lower your cholesterol level if you don’t follow my advice? Tell you what, I’m going to increase the dose of the medication, and you’re going to increase your exercise level, and stick to the diet I gave you to follow, OK? Here’s a prescription for a blood test to check your cholesterol and liver enzymes, and your new medication. Come back in three months and we’ll see how you’re doing then.


  1. The Physician fails to pick up on the fact that Mr. Farnswinkle has lost some weight; therefore there has been some sort of positive change in the patient which should be encouraged.
  2. After his “business” is concluded, the Physician doesn’t even take the time to say good-bye politely to his now confused and disappointed patient. No words of encouragement such as “these things are sometimes difficult to control, don’t get discouraged, just make some more adjustments, and together we will find the answer.

Patient: OK I’ll see you… (door closes behind the Physician)

Can you imagine where this process is going? So what is wrong with this picture?

Unfortunately, most of you will have read this little “scenario” and conclude (based on previous experience) that sounds pretty routine, and you would probably be correct. …”

However, If any of this sounds familiar to you maybe the time has come to start looking for a new Physician. Remember, a Physician is a highly trained professional who is “hired” by the patient to consult on health matters. While they are to be respected, and their opinions seriously considered by their patients, they (we) are not invested with super-powers when they receive their medical degrees, and have no right to bully, scare or be impolite to their patients. Of course, anyone can have a “bad day” but if your Physician behaves badly on a regular basis, you may want to consider “firing” him or her.

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Fort Lauderdale, FL 33306
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