Why It’s Important to Feel that Your Doctor Cares About You
A dear patient of mine recently thanked me for the care I have given her over many years. She emphasized that along with whatever expertise I had brought to the table, it was at least equally important to her that she felt genuinely cared for in our professional relationship.
It reminded me of something another patient had said to me many years ago as he sought out an Oncologist to treat him for his serious cancer. He rejected a number of them because he didn’t get the feeling they saw him as a person that they cared for. I asked him why that was so important, and he said “If they care, then I know they’ll do their level best for me. If I can’t feel their caring, how do I know that I’m being well-cared for?”
Even before Covid, many doctors were overworked and under-appreciated. They not only had to see too many patients in too little time, they also had to do their electronic chart notes, code their visits properly, and hassle with insurance companies to get the testing and treatments they wanted for their patients. Medicine is a challenging enough discipline for anyone without the additional pressures of corporatized practice. Many doctors are suffering “compassion fatigue” and physicians have now reclaimed the highest suicide rate of any profession. All that makes it hard to practice and hard to care.
How many people you know feel really cared for by their doctor? And how important do you feel that is to you in your health and medical care?