I know that lots of doctors are unhappy these days. The reasons are too complex to cover in any depth right now, but let’s just say I’ve thought of writing a book. Some of it is about money and lawsuits, some of it is loss of control and busy schedules, but lots of it is just about believing the lie that any profession can validate a person. Our work is not enough to make us whole, and when we believe the lie and think it is, we always come up short; and often miserable.
But that’s another post altogether. When I call doctors who are unhappy about patients (who are often just as unhappy) sometimes I get this line: ‘What do you want me to do about it?’ Or this one, ‘Tell me how that’s my problem.’
Few things go through me like that. Because it is utterly unprofessional. In all my years of taking care of patients, and other doctor’s problems, I’ve never asked that question. If a physician has another option or insight, I’m all ears, but when they ask ‘How’s that my problem?’ it suggests that they disrespect me and consider my call to them an annoyance, and it suggests that they simply view patients as a dramatic inconvenience to their personal happiness.
For all of our collective anger and angst, we should never ask another doctor, who has called for help or an opinion, ‘How is that my problem?’ Because it suggests that the actual problem is much deeper than the call.