Even I don't always agree with my opinion


Bedside Manners

Posted September 22, 2009 by jim young in Lifestyle

– jim young

My wife fell recently and sustained a serious bump on her head, which required an initial trip to the emergency room of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie.

A few days later, when her injuries seemed to worsen we returned to the hospital for a subsequent examination.

The doctor on duty that day, let’s call him Dr. M – not because I feel a need to offer him anonymity but rather because his signature was illegible – seemed to be a little grumpy at best.

I proceeded to explain the symptoms on my wife’s behalf, one of which I described as being disoriented.

“Disoriented?” the doctor asked suspiciously?

“Yes,” I confirmed.

“Disoriented,” the doctor corrected me “means ‘Who am I? Where am I?’”

I was taken aback at the belligerence with which he was challenging my description of my wife’s symptom as he continued his barrage upon me seeming more intent on criticizing my choice of words rather than clarify what the situation really was.

Not wanting to antagonize the physician that was about to treat my wife I chose NOT to respond with, “If I had wanted to suggest she didn’t know who or where she was I would have more likely used a form of the word ‘amnesia’”.

I also wanted to remind the good doctor that I was not there for a lesson in English grammar but rather to have him tend to my wife’s injuries.

As a writer I like to think I have an average command of the English language.

I thought “disoriented” could be used to describe a condition of confusion. In fact so too does my thesaurus.

Communication is about the exchange of information and ideas. And when a professional, such as a doctor is unclear about any symptom being described to him, it would behoove him to ask questions until he is confident he fully understands the situation.

In fact it doesn’t just “behoove” him – it is the doctor’s legal and moral responsibility.

That does NOT, however give the doctor the liberty to belittle his patient (or those in care of the patient) by providing impromptu English lessons – especially when he doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about.

– 30 –


Be the first to comment!

Leave a Response