Over the years, I have found that patients can be loosely grouped into 4 different types. Nothing particularly wrong with any type, but it does help me to approach patients appropriately if I can get a sense of what type they are.
The four types are:
Type A: If a surgery can “fix” or “cure” me such that I won’t have to take medications every day of my life, than let’s do it.
Type B: I will never consider surgery unless it is a life-threatening situation. If a medicine can help, why do it???
Type C: I will consider surgery only as a last resort when all else fails.
Type D: They thought they were Type B or C, but over time, they realize they are Type A.
Why is this important?
Because if a patient is Type B and surgery is recommended, the patient often develops an automatic distrust of the surgeon. The patient may see the surgeon as a “gun-slinger” who likes to cut people.
If a patient is Type A and the surgeon approaches them like Type B or C, such patients may come out of a visit quite disappointed and at worst, upset that the surgeon will not do what they want.
Ultimately, for a happy clinic encounter, a mutual understanding needs to quickly happen, otherwise a mutual discord may snowball ultimately leading to a second opinion with another surgeon.
Of course, there is a more complex dynamic going on, but it’s a good over-simplification.
*This blog post was originally published at Fauquier ENT Blog*