Musings of a Marfan Mom

An Open Letter to Medical Professionals

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An Open Letter to Medical Professionals:

The physician/patient relationship is a complicated one. I realize this. And in the United States, there aren’t a lot of rules for decorum. So, because I like you (or at least some of you), I’m going to give you a few pointers today of things you probably shouldn’t say to patients.

For starters, you should never tell a patient of the opposite sex that s/he has a nice figure. That’s just icky. Then we start wondering how you’re imagining said figure. Along those lines, you shouldn’t be so bold as to say something like “WOW! You look so, SO much better when you’re straight!” to a person with scoliosis. I promise: the patient will begin to doubt your years of education. I’m pretty sure that most young children could identify the better-looking option. If that’s all your 8+ years at fancy schools taught you, we’re in trouble.

Never utter the phrase “Oh, I know just how you feel.” The one exception to this? If you are the patient’s long-lost identical twin, because we’ve all heard those Discovery Channel shows about the separated-at-birth-twins who led basically identical lives. In fact, if you are my long-lost twin, I’m liable to forgive your misguided attempt at empathy anyway.

And while there’s something to be said for a medical professional who gets excited by her job, as a patient it’s a little disconcerting to hear, “Yah, all of us were just in the back looking at your x-rays. We’ve never seen anything like it!” Sorry, it just doesn’t inspire confidence.

That said, patients usually don’t mind if you’re honest and tell us when you don’t know the answer. We’d rather you be up front then pretend to be an All Knowing Medical God, ‘cause we can totally see through that routine, even though we didn’t go to 8+ years of school for that.

Moral of the story? Use some common sense. And if you’re short on that, just give me a ring and I’ll tell you what to say. My rates are reasonable, I promise!

Best,
Maya, the Marfan Mom

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12 Comments

  1. Hysterical, Maya!

    Yes, I’m tired of hearing that our family would make a good medical study! Yep, I know we’re weird! :)

    I’ll send you a private e-mail on the strangest comment I’ve ever heard from a doctor — the OB/GYN!

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  2. A letter like this needing to be written (and it did) is absolute proof that education does NOT equal intelligence. 😉
    ~Honey

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  3. Love it Maya,
    At Wyatt’s eye exam before we knew aobut the mfs the docs where very excited and saying wow we have never seen this before. NOT what a mom wants to hear about her 4 year olds eyes.

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  4. Hi, I was just stopping by to reply on the comment you left at http://everydaymomideas.blogspot.com
    You asked if I was related to the rowleys in Arizona. Well there is a good chance that I am. I have a lot of family in Tucson AZ and St. George UT.

    Hope you have a great day!

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  5. Cute. I’m thankful I haven’t come across a medical professional yet who wasn’t quite professional. 😉 If I do though, I’ll be sure to send them your way. :)

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  6. I had a doctor who rubbed my calf the entire time he was talking to me. It was that kind of mindless touch that I’m not sure he knew he was doing it, but I was sure he shouldn’t have been doing it.

    They should have a class in med school for stuff that’s just going to come across wrong.

    I have the scoliosis back too. Fun stuff!

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  7. Common sense really seems to be lacking in people these days I’ve noticed…

    Thanks for your nice comment on my blog!!

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  8. Oh lord, so glad I wasn’t at that appointment. I’m sorry they were not cool!

    I had the whole we’re all looking at it, never seen it thing happen. 4 years ago my right ear was infected – on the outside. It blew up like three times it’s normal size by the time all was said and done. First my doctor called his people in. Then off to the specialist who had no clue and he called more people in. Finally they admitted me into the hospital where I swear everyone in the hospital came in to see it and say they’d never seen anything like it before. My ear was huge. And it hurt. And they irritated me. 3 days later I got out with a pik line, then home health care had to examine it over and over for the 2 weeks I had that iv in.

    Not fun.

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  9. Brilliant letter. This should be printed and put in doctors offices.

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  10. wow… thats just … wow. I work everyday with electrophysiologists… and believe me – never would any of those words come out of there mouth.
    Happy sits sharefest!

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  11. One that really bothered me recently was when my doctor said “I know that’s uncomfortable for you” – in response to me screaming in pain. I’m a grown woman with a reasonable amount of restraint – it’s not ‘uncomfortable’ if I’m screaming. Honest.

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  12. I enjoyed reading this! You have a great writing style!! (:

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