Day 18 (of 31 days of free writing)

In my lifetime I have needed medical treatment on a much more frequent basis than most people. Several friends have suggested to me that if I write a second book it should be about all the times doctors have said or done something that was hurtful, thoughtless, or inconsiderate. It seems that most of my friends have had at least one or two experiences with doctors that left them feeling angry or ashamed.  It should not be surprising, after all doctors are humans. What is surprising to me is that the doctors I trusted to get things right, never apologized when they got things wrong. Instead, even the most compassionate and skilled physicians default seems to be to blame the patient when the result is not successful. “You didn’t contact me early enough,” or “I don’t believe it is anything to be concerned about,” are the most frequent excuses I have heard. The fact is that these occasions are etched more vividly in my memory than the physical injury or pain I suffered at the time. Recently I learned that the latest data shows that if a doctor admits to making a mistake, even if it caused the patient some additional harm, there is a reduction on medical malpractice suits. That makes sense to me. Healing isn’t just about medicinal science it is built upon trust and the doctor/patient relationship.