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The Age Of Medical Disconnect

It’s the age of medical disconnect.

The disconnect describes the emotional and intellectual detachment that physicians feel from their patients and patients from their doctors.  This disconnect is the result of a confluence of factors, some from within the profession itself, others are more broadly social and economic.

To understand the disconnect you need look no further than your neighbor or your parents.  Dissatisfaction is evolving as the norm.  Patients feel increasingly marginalized in their experiences with physicians.  Shrinking length of visits, indifferent attitudes, poorly coordinated evaluations, difficulty obtaining test results, an institutional feel to the patient experience, and the overall sense of not feeling at all important.

The truth is that many of us are really not aware of the disconnect. Most of us have been born into a system of dysfunctional provider relationships and we know nothing else.  As physicians we’ve been trained to be detached.  As patients we’ve been conditioned to live happily detached.

Of course there are plenty of physicians who Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

How To Complain Effectively About Mistreatment At A Psychiatric Hospital

For those who don’t follow the comment sections of posts, there have been commenters who have been telling us about the awful experiences they have had as psychiatric patients.  In particular (but not exclusively) as  hospital inpatients.  Commenters have used terms like “abuse” and “humiliation” and describe awful scenarios.  One person asked why the mean nurses don’t get fired, everyone knows they are mean including the staff.  Others throw the baby out with the bath water, one bad experience.  There is implication by at least one commenter that he/she would rather die (presumably permanently) rather than face a day on a psych unit again.  The suffering in these posts is palpable.

To those who feel better after leaving comments on Shrink Rap, by all means, feel free to continue, but this will not change the world.  May I put in a request?  If you’ve had an awful experience as a patient on a psychiatric unit, please tell the hospital.  One commenter said she (/he?) complained to the hospital administration and heard that some changes were made.  My thoughts?  You Go Girl!  (If the commenter was a male, I’m at a loss. Way to Go, Joe! perhaps?)  Complain, it can’t hurt.

Oh, you say, no one listens to psychiatric patients, they just say we’re crazy so they don’t have to listen.  For an isolated complaint, you may be right, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*

Cancer Patient Threatened With Legal Action Because He Blogged About Bad Hospital Experience

I’ve recently come across a really controversial story about a cancer patient who blogged and complained about his hospital treatment and has been threatened with legal action by an NHS trust.

Daniel Sencier was worried about delays at Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary and had surgery at another hospital. He complained to North Cumbria University Hospital Trust and it came up with an action plan to improve care.

But Mr Sencier, 59, of Penrith, then received a letter threatening legal action. The trust declined to comment.

Mr Sencier, a photography student, had expected an apology but then received a letter saying the trust would consider legal action if his blog contained “unsubstantiated criticism”.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Latest Interviews

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

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