* * Anonymous Doc: Boards II

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Boards II

I guess no one was interested in my fake boards question.
And now that the boards are over, I'm not interested either.

Are there any universally-liked doctors?  Is anyone able to seem competent and pleasant to all of their patients, and not just some of them?  I would hope there could be, but I have yet to have any proof.  For everyone who tells me they miss the previous fellow, or they love the attending who's been dealing with them (and don't know why now they have to see inexperienced me, who takes twice as long and doesn't know about that terrible medical problem they had in the past that isn't in the chart), I get someone else who thinks their previous doctor in the clinic was terrible and wants me to agree.

"I never even met Dr. Johnson-- she graduated from fellowship right as I was starting."

"Well, she was terrible.  Never seemed to have any appointments available."

"That's not her fault.  We're only in clinic a couple of days a week."

"And her name wasn't on her white coat."

"Again, not her fault.  They don't give us coats with our names on them."

"And she wouldn't give me her cell phone number."

"I'm not going to give you that either."

"And she smelled funny."

"I never even met her."

"Good for you."


  1. I would have to agree. I think there are generally two explanations:
    1) A certain type of medical professional is amazing if you are mostly well or if your illness is a standard one. A completely different type of medical professional makes sense if you are ill in an unique way.
    2) People are different. To be the universally liked doctor would be like being the most amazing boyfriend... to every girl there is out there. The truth of the matter is that we don't all share the same frequency!!


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  3. I suppose your question as to whether any doctors are universally liked was a rhetorical one, but nevertheless I will say that I know of at least one. I once had an exploratory surgery for what turned out to be a rare cancer. At every stage of the many weeks during which I met with the surgeon, people kept pulling me aside to whisper to me how lucky I was to have this particular surgeon: a medical student shadowing him, nurses with whom he had worked for years, other patients---all of them had glowing praise. And it was well deserved, based on my own experience. The man seems unbelievably dedicated to his patients' well being, technically highly skilled, and streaming with joy as a person.

  4. There are some dangerous physicians out there whose patients, without exception, will tell you that their doctor hung the moon. Oddly, just like in the 1700s when one was peddling snake oil and dried roots, salesmanship is still 90% of the physician-patient relationship. Practicing good medicine will allow you to sleep at night; knowing how to shmooze will help patients sleep at night. Without the bedside pizzazz, even the smartest, best trained, hardest working doctor, seems like an idiot/louse/jerk in the patient's eyes.