When Care Providers Don’t Seem to Care: Patient vs. Customer

For the last few weeks we’ve been dealing with a number of headaches with Melanie’s pregnancy, mostly concerning doctors. This has culminated in the last week or so with getting all the paperwork and forms straightened out so she can transfer her care.

She has mentioned several times that the process is frustrating because they often do not treat her like a person, they treat her like a case. And she has suggested that she would never have felt that way, or been treated that way, by the midwives she had with Theo.

The main difference in the care given is that the midwives make it abundantly clear that they do in fact care. They listen and ask questions and encourage you to ask questions. They show compassion and offer encouragement.

To be fair, the doctors and nurses have generally given that overall impression too. But they have gatekeepers. They have a whole crew of receptionists and assistants and administrative staff who keep the place running smoothly. That running smoothly, however, is mostly for the benefit of the doctor at the cost of the patients.

I realize that I don’t have the behind the curtain perspective for most of this stuff, that there are best practices and reasons for many of the policies that are in place, all of which is likely overly complicated by insurance. But it is difficult to understand how the patient can be so far done on the priority list. Or at least have that as the dominant impression.

Mostly, it just reminds me to be empathetic, to remember the John Watson quote, “Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” And it makes me wish other people would remember it.

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