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Re: Dealing with medical professionals

I've finally figured out a proper list of good and bad traits that I've noticed in my own doctors!!

I think having put the effort into writing it out actually helped me understand in words some of the really obvious stuff that I might have forgotten to look for in appointments.

 

Anyway, in case anyone else might find it (in addition to everything @WheresMySquishy has said) helpful, I've put it here:

 

My most helpful doctors:

Are respectful towards me

   • Acknowledge that I know my own mind and body

   • Respect my gender and try to use my pronouns

   • Address me, not my parents, during my appointments

   • Get my permission before touching me

   • Respect my right to self-determination

Are professional and helpful

   • Offer more than one option

   • Suggest ideas I wouldn't have thought of

   • Admit it when they make mistakes

   • Validate my feelings and acknowledge the impact of my pain

   • Know what they're doing

   • Think outside the box

Are happy to share ideas and information

   • Let me know what they're doing (before they do it)

   • Give information about my conditions and treatments freely

   • Are happy to learn new things

   • Genuinely try to answer my (sometimes endless...) stream of questions

   • Like having a patient who has some background knowledge 

   • Listen to and seriously consider my ideas 

   • Tell me what they're thinking (in terms of my illness and treatment, not what they want for lunch..)

 

My least helpful doctors:

Are dismissive

   • Ignore my concerns, questions and comments 

   • Act bored/ disinterested during appointments 

   • Habitually downplay my level of pain/ distress

   • Discriminate against me (eg. assuming I'm exaggerating my pain levels because I look female)

   • Lose interest in anything more difficult to solve than a sprained ankle 

   • Act bored or disinterested during appointments

   • Assume that my conditions are only mild (and refuse to actually check)

Like being the one in power/ with control 

   • Only give me one option (if that)

   • Ignore my suggestions

   • Refuse to review diagnosis/ treatments

   • Try to maintain a power imbalance

   • Set goals for me, not with me

   • Become uncomfortable or annoyed when I use technical language

   • Blame me if there is no improvement

   • Focus on their own priorities, or attach their own values to me

   • See me as a puzzle that needs to be solved

   • Expect me to be compliant, even if it will be bad for my health

Re: Dealing with medical professionals

@Tiny_leaf  I think that's a really helpful list!

I think another good trait in a doctor is that they don't treat their patients differently on the basis of age when trying to make a diagnosis. Particular ages can make a diagnosis less likely, but a diagnosis usually shouldn't be ruled out on the basis of age alone. I have had some medical issues that are more common in people twice my age and it can be hard for people to understand what I am going through or find other young people with the same problems. At the same time, a doctor shouldn't be insensitive or try to make the patient feel bad about themselves if something is rare in their age. A doctor once said to me something like, 'My mother is in her eighties and your body is worse than hers'. That was hurtful. I have also heard doctors say things such as, 'They're just being a typical teenager and exaggerating or refusing to comply with their treatment'.

Re: Dealing with medical professionals

@WheresMySquishy oh my gosh yes!! 

Two of the more likely conditions that are causing my pain are more well known in 40 and 70 year olds.

I think my gp has decided I'm a "lazy teenager not  exercising enough" rather than "maybe we should look into this" Smiley Frustrated

 

Also, a doctor who doesn't treat you differently based on your weight/ BMI.

I've heard of people who were bullied in ED recovery because they were naturally larger than their peers, or people whose illnesses were missed for too long because the doctor assumed that they just had to lose weight.

If you ask for help managing weight, that's one thing, but different people have different bodies, and your doctor shouldn't be making you feel ashamed of it. 

 

Aaand for those of us who present as or are assumed to be female, it's worth finding a doctor who isn't sexist..

Unfortunately prejudice exists in the medical field, which is worth keeping in mind if you're part of a group that is discriminated against.

Re: Dealing with medical professionals

@Tiny_leaf  I think you touched on a really serious issue. I have heard a lot of people with eating issues or other kinds of health problems having experiences where a doctor or service has told them, 'We can only treat you if you're a certain weight'. I think this is really dangerous. There should be more of a focus on preventing people from getting worse or developing health issues, rather than only treating particular kinds of cases. Smiley Frustrated

Doctors are also very quick to dismiss health problems as being weight-related and often refuse to investigate to see if there are other causes or factors.

Women have also been discriminated against for decades when it comes to medical matters. I think a lot of doctors see women as being more neurotic or as being more likely to be hypochondriacs.  I've read a lot of news articles where mothers have told doctors that they think that there is something wrong with their child, but they get written off as being 'an overly concerned mother', only to later discover that their intuition has been correct.

Re: Dealing with medical professionals

@WheresMySquishy exactly.

I'm small enough that I don't have to deal with the @*$& that a lot of larger people have to deal with, but still a little above average.

 

I might've actually had an eating disorder, but no one looked into it because my weight was "perfect" even though I was starting to get sick from it. Smiley Frustrated

(which is the story of how my friend ended up being the one managing my symptoms. It got me eating again but was not a healthy solution at all and I'm glad we aren't still dealing with that. If that's going on for you, get help. Try headspace or the butterfly foundation)

 

 

And yup. Because I'm presenting as female for now and have a mental illnesses, I have to fight twice as hard for my concerns to be acknowledged.

Even then being brushed off is fairly common for me.

 

Now I try to know a few of the more likely diagnoses, the common misconceptions about those conditions, and truckload of facts. Whenever I hear.. you-know-what coming from my doctor's face, I find it useful to pull out one of those facts.

Plus it makes frustrating appointments a whole lot more amusing, like so:

 

Doctor: In the meantime, try exercise.

Me: That makes the pain worse. And it's not caused by normal DOMS (the thing he'd been hinting at), it has a different onset period, effecting me immediately after exercise and continuing for the next few days or even week. 

Also I have experienced parallel to DOMS, and the two feelings are very different.

Doctor: Image result for brain loading gif

 

Idk, I just find it funny when people realize that not only were they talking complete crap, but they know that I know and have to now think about what they say.

Plus I find knowledge and unnecessarily large words a really good way of dismantling obviously faulty ideas. 

Re: Dealing with medical professionals

@Tiny_leaf  That's so frustrating! I'm sorry you had to deal with that.
Also, if you have to walk with a cane most of the time, the problem probably isn't caused by DOMS. Who has to walk with a cane after DOMS? Maybe that doctor should go back to reading his textbooks...

Have you heard any stigmatising or insensitive language used by doctors?
My favourite examples of this are: 'The patient failed treatment' (meaning that the patient did what the doctor told them to do, but it didn't help) and 'demented' (used to describe patients with dementia or impaired cognition). There are a lot of other examples, especially with weight and mental health patients.

There are lots of things that medical professionals do that are pretty insensitive. My mum told me about a woman she saw who had a miscarriage, but she was put in the same section of the hospital where the births were taking place.

Re: Dealing with medical professionals

@WheresMySquishy freaking exactly!!

Plus then there's the assumption that I've somehow made it 17 years with no idea what DOMS feels like as though I haven't exercised before.

I do horse riding, I absolutely know what DOMS feels like. Smiley Frustrated

 

And I can't think of any examples of the top of my head, probably because my treatment team never actually spoke to me about how things were going. 

But definitely I've had it implied that it was my fault nothing was working, that random issues were caused by me being autistic (while the problems that I actually had were ignored).

Not so many clear statements, but a lot of stuff was implied.

(assuming it's DOMS and I even can exercise suggests that I'm too lazy to exercise, too stupid to recognize DOMS, and that I'm so sensitive that DOMS makes me freak out and act disabled)

 

Actually, there was being told that having a cane would make me look and feel disabled, which wasn't great..

It suggests that I wasn't already disabled (believe me they don't give out NDIS plans unless the person is definitely disabled in some way)

It suggests that being disabled is a choice made by getting accommodations. 

It suggests that being disabled is shameful

It suggests that people's opinions of me are more important than my health and wellbeing

It suggests that my gp is more concerned about how I look than how healthy I am

It suggests that canes can't be ✨fabulous✨ 

It suggests that I'm ableist enough that I'd endure immense pain rather than look disabled

Re: Dealing with medical professionals

Thanks for starting this thread @Tiny_leaf and thanks @WheresMySquishy for your insights too! I think it's a great idea to have a space where we can reflect on our experiences of working with health professionals (both positive and negative). It sucks that you've had some not-so-great experiences, although it sounds like these experiences have given you a good insight into what's helpful and what's not. I really like the list of what's helpful and what's not helpful. This should be essential reading for all health professionals IMO! 

Re: Dealing with medical professionals

@TOM-RO definitely, I kinda wish that doctors-in-training had to sit through a lecture of just patients complaining (and also sharing what helped).

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Re: Dealing with medical professionals

@Tiny_leaf I wish some doctors we happy with hearing constructive feedback from the patient. There are some not so great professionals as well as good professionals. Good professionals should be open to feedback.