As with all professions out there, there are some amazing people working in the medical field, yet there are also some really horrible ones who leave you wondering how did you make it this far?
I, myself, have had a handful of both, but I can tell you that I will never forget some of the terrible things people in the medical field have said to me. Here are some of the worst comments I’ve received:
- From an orthopedic surgeon in Uppsala, Sweden: “Well, you just look like there’s nothing wrong with you; then, I took at look at your X-ray, and, well yeah…” Then, she proceeded to tell me I was fine and I didn’t need any pain-killers after falling off the bed. There could have been a language or cultural barrier here, who knows. I don’t think she was trying to be rude about my condition, but it came off that way. I realize I do not look like I have scoliosis because I’ve had two surgeries, but I definitely do. Just because I do not look like I have scoliosis doesn’t mean I am not in pain. Underestimating the pain and not taking it into account is completely insensitive.
- From a 60+ X-ray technician at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Oakland, CA: “WOW, you are more crooked than I am. How are you even able to move?” If you have nothing nice to say, then do not say anything at all. Please keep your comments to yourself. I do not need to know what you think about my condition or how it’s in any way related to you.
- From an orthopedic surgeon at George Washington Medical Center in Washington, D.C. “Yeah, it looks like you are going to just have to learn how to live with your pain. I can’t do anything for you.” Man, does it suck to hear that your doctor has no clue what to do with you. It’s completely okay not to know, but it hurts to feel like they are not even trying. I’ve suffered through pain my entire life. It would be nice to see a doctor that would be able to provide some solutions, instead of just hearing that I have to “learn how to live with it.”
- From a neurosurgeon at George Washington Medical Center in Washington, D.C. “Haha, wow! You have really limited sensation on half your body.” Then, he called in a surgeon buddy, “Hey, you have to come see this patient.” He walked in and they both proceed to examine me like a lab rat. I believe that I shouldn’t have to say this, but it saddens me that I do have to mention it, because I was a victim of it—as a medical professional, this entire scenario is completely unacceptable.
- From a general practitioner at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, CA: “I never give this much time off for just a fall. I’ve given you more time than I give people who have had surgery. You need to suck it up and go to work.” He said this to me after I fell down a set of concrete stairs and couldn’t move. I thought I was going to be stuck that way forever. It was horrible. Yet, I was just another patient with scoliosis. He didn’t see the person. He only saw the diagnosis and decided to use his cookie-cutter formula on me, which wasn’t working. I was in so much pain and he did nothing to help me through it. If you have a patient with scoliosis, remember that they may not be just like the last patient you saw with scoliosis. We are not all exactly the same and we shouldn’t be treated that way. Your job is to make sure we are both physically and mentally capable of being okay.
- From a physical therapist at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, CA: “ There’s nothing else I can show you, you’ve basically graduated from physical therapy.” Meanwhile, I was still walking with a cane, after falling down the stairs, and could barely hold myself together. Thank you for nothing. It’s so hard to go on when all your doctors are giving up on you. Your patients are your responsibility, and so is their well-being. Remember that sometimes what they need is a little more cheerleading to know they can make it through to a full recovery. Don’t just abandon them halfway through the marathon.
What’s the worse thing a doctor has ever said to you?