Dorothy Petrillo-Zbornak ( Golden Girls ) : “I don’t know where you doctors lose your humanity, but you lose it. You know, if all of you at the beginning of your careers could get very sick and very scared for a while, you’d probably learn more from that than from anything else. You better start listening to your patients. They need to be heard. They need caring. They need compassion. They need attending to. You know, someday doctor Budd, you’re going to be on the other side of the table, and as angry as I am and as ANGRY as I always will be, I still wish you a better doctor than you were to me.”

Dear Doctor,

I met you for the first time today and normally I don’t like meeting people under these circumstances. No one really is keen on not feeling well. I didn’t want to have to wait in the office surrounded by other patients who coughed and sneezed waiting for the germs to possibly hit me. I had to be there though. I’ve been in a great deal of pain so that’s why I turned to you. Despite all the negative reviews I have heard regarding your attitude I was in a great amount of pain so I thought that I would ignore the warning and press on. I should have known. I’m not sure if you have ever been in my shoes. We probably don’t have the same medical history but I am sure you have been sick at one point or another in your lifetime. I’m sure you weren’t too fond of people questioning every statement you made. That’s not someone who is not feeling well wants, right? I have had sleepless nights where I am left feeling like I have to have imaginary restraints on my arms and legs to prevent me from moving and possibly disturbing the sleep process. I have cried and screamed through it all and even in my darkest state of staring blankly into a computer lit screen for an hour while tears rolled down my cheek, I still felt better about myself than I did talking to you today. I’m not sure why you were so shocked that I had pain in multiple areas but I did not make this up to play a game with you. Why would I bother? You gave me a diagnosis with attitude and sarcasm in your voice and you could be correct in your assumption but the way you told me was in no way reassuring.  I came in with some previous research about what I thought was going on. Google you assumed. No, I’ve discussed it with other doctors who due to insurance reasons could not take me in as a patient but were kind enough to suggest what it could be. If you haven’t heard of it that is fine but to be so condescending and rude about it was not necessary. I get it. Your word is the word. No one else is right except for you. I hope you are never treated by someone like yourself. I have a feeling you would leave there feeling embarrassed and more confused than ever like I did. Like somehow I was wasting your time. I am not just another file number, sir. I am a patient who came to someone who is supposed to show the same amount of care and professionalism for each and every one of us who walk through your door seeking medical attention. I understand you won’t have all the answers. I understand that you are the one with the degree. However, I do understand too that I am just like you who will face health issues from time to time and I would expect that would be somewhere in your handbook on how to treat your patients. You are one of the very few that leave patients feeling lost rather than helped. There  are many many doctors who do the right thing. I just don’t think you are one of them.



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