Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Response

This is a response to the scathing comment below from a very "brave" (ha) anonymous poster, 9/3/08, 5:06 pm. Actually, I *am* quite fed up and burned out. It comes with the territory of being taken for granted and treated as less than human. Chances are, your physician(s) are too, whether you get to see it or not. I'm all about patient education, in the office, during normal work hours. Not at 2 am in the morning. Sorry, and I don't think you'll find another professional around who would be happy to "educate" their clients about trivial things in the middle of the night. (Just try calling your plumber to ask them which drain cleaner is best at 2 am, see how far you get.) Again, it's people like you, who seem to think that doctors should be superhuman, that are driving physicians out of the practice of medicine...in droves. Also, anon nasty poster (9/9)that I chose not to publish. I'm glad you aren't coming back, and it is *my* blog, so *of course* it is self centered! Geez. Apparently *some* people don't get the concept of venting!

30 comments:

Stella said...

Ouch! I'm sorry!! Those two sound like a-holes!!

You being a Doctor is job. It should not require that you be superhuman and I think you're right that sometimes we assume that you should be. 2am phone calls should be reserved for emergencies. Not, I peed myself and I'm not sure what to do!!

I'm sorry you have to deal with people like that! I think you should require that your high maintenance patients give you THEIR phone number and you call them at 2am. See how much they like it!!

Again I say, VENT AWAY!!

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog, even when you are cranky! I have a job in advertising ...it's difficult and annoying on a daily basis and I DON'T have clients calling me at 2am. I couldn't imagine how much crankier I would be in that case!

drkay112 said...

Doc,
I too, am an underappreciated, overworked OB/GYN in a lopsided practice in studying for her oral boards in November. I feel you, all the way. You write the things I wish I could say. I love this blog. F*ck 'em. Good luck on the boards.

Anonymous said...

dr. whoo. you are great. i'm an about to be ob/gyn, and your blog has provided quite some perspective. i will *NOT* be joining less than a 5 physician practice. even so, dumb, entitled patients abound and you have every right to be fed up with them. and, i don't think it's so bad to tell them flat out, "It is inappropriate for you to call me at this hour for this reason, you may call during normal business hours for such a request". I sure plan to do so... with maybe a little 'tude thrown in.

Cecilia said...

I have to say, as a med student, I find your crankiness educational! :-) I agree with Stella: Please, vent!! And good job, calling out your commenters. These folks are evidently the type that think of doctors as service robots.

Lizard said...

venting, people, venting. geeze, if you can't complain about the annoying parts of your job you will explode. it is how we all stay healthy and make it possible to answer the 2am call about the uti that has been going on for 4 days and is suddenly an emergency because the patient just realized that she's leaving for a trip in the morning.

If it isn't appropriate to vent about that after you deal politely with the person, then I don't know what to do with myself.

anyone who says otherwise is just a twit. or something more anatomical that I won't utter on your blog without permission.

LoveLladro said...

I love the idea of a non self centered blog about you and your life... what a dillweed. Rant and rave all you want! We will be here to listen!

Anonymous said...

You tell 'em, honey. Ya know, I think that person was in my office last week!

Nine (+) Texans and friends... said...

I'm so sorry people are so darn nasty. This is your blog, your place to write about what ever you want. To rant, to complain whatever. What do people expect?
I am a mom of many, mostly caught by midwives, I used to work as a doula, blah blah blah...but I so do NOT buy into the all OB's are eeeevvviilllllll. Sure, I have worked with or been the patient of a couple duds but you know something? I have had a couple OB's, men, who were the most amazing, caring, unselfish, sacrificing guys out there.
My last baby? My OB made two non-birth related trips to the hospital to see me-once to a hospital he doesn't even practice at! About 30 office visits, phone calls to home health, talking to me at home, talking to peri's, then staying up to 4AM after a full day in the office to catch my baby because I was *his* patient and he didn't want his partner doing this delivery and that included standing bedside for the last 2 hours of my labor because things were getting hairy.
So yeah, he gives it his all for me. I respect that he has a family and a life and understand that if I had gone into labor when he was at his son's college graduation he wouldn't be there. I never, not once called him in the middle of the night. Only once called him off office hours around 6PM on a Sunday.
Out of the $80,000 bill for T's pregnancy, birth and NICU stay Dr M. got $1700. The neonatalogists? For a week in the NICU? $7,000.

3carnations said...

Ugh. Isn't that why most of us created blogs in the first place - To have a private place to vent?!?

Anonymous said...

I'm one of the anon posters from before. I'm not saying docs should be superhuman. I don't think it's okay to call in the middle of the night for dumb reasons, and I agree telling people who do that it isn't appropriate is a good idea. I think there are solutions here you're missing. Maybe hire a screening service like my practice does? Many of my friends are docs and none of them take their own calls after hours, they return calls that are urgent.

I am a social worker and my clients treat me poorly at times, too. However I see it as my role to set appropriate boundaries so I an continue to love what I do and have respect for my clients. Maybe try to stop blaming your patients and help create a system that works for you and for them.

MB said...

Amen girl! This is YOUR blog. If they are so effing pissed about what you write about then they should QUIT READING!

Ciarin said...

...and then they came to my office.

Dragonfly said...

I love your blog also. Vent away.

Trope said...

Ugh!! I'm sad that you got trolled. I enjoy seeing your updates, and would be a better commenter if I weren't so exhausted with my own kiddo (just a couple months older than your Bean). And I'm NOT a doctor! I don't know how you do it. Hang in there...

Dr.Rutledge said...

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Cheers, Geoff

amy said...

I've been reading a while and this post makes me HAVE to comment. I'm an L&D nurse and the operator will transfer us any and all pregnancy related questions. It seems like at least a couple times a week we get the "um, we just finished having sex/condom broke/forgot my pill/could i be pregnant/can i do paternity testing/what name will the baby have/when is too early to take a pregnancy test" style callers. I answered it the other night and told them essentially to chill the f out and call an office when they opened in the morning if they still had questions. One of the other nurses looked at me aghast and told me I should NEVER answer those questions because "it's the physician's job!" So yeah, sorry if she's manning the phones when you're on call!

Ethel said...

Every single one of your complaints are reasonable. Geesh.

And your blog is awesome, and when you're venting it's even more fun! The asshats can stuff it.

Lioness said...

I hope that git finds a job soon that will allow him to field questions at 3 am, I really do. The implied sense of entitlement is just too much for me, it really is.

As for you? Your blog should be sanctuary, always, anyone not liking what you write is simply free to not read. You have enough rubbish in your life already, please don't add the need to justify yourself, if at all possible. Anyone reading you either fully understands and no need to explain, we have been reading, or they are (as proven) sub-brained - and why should they impact your life? I once wrote a post about my dead best friend - actually wrote them for months, I almost drowned in grief, and one day this mental woman emails me and tells me she found me pathetic. She actually cheered me up, but for the grace of God and all that. The arrogant sub-brained abound, wide berth baby, wide berth.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I love reading your blog and just wanted to say it has always been one of life's mysteries to me how obstetricians do their jobs..unless they are dracula bats that can magically appear and disappear and be in many places seemingly at once at the middle of the night!! Nice to hear how it really is. Take care! Liz

Anonymous said...

i love your venting...it shows that doctors are real people too. I am currently a OB nurse who has thought about returning to medical school to be an OB/GYN. I am in my 30s and have 3 kids and have come to realize that I don't think I could really truly enjoy being a Doctor with all the demands made on MDs this day by insurance companies and patients. I work with a wonderful group of Doctors in a private hospital who treat us with a great deal of respect...we are their eyes and ears for them when they are not there. They trust us that there is a reason for 2AM call. We also have a high risk unit with the recent addition of a Maternal-Fetal Specialist. I think even he is impressed with the knowledge and expertise the nurses in our unit have. I do have days when I have to vent about the frequent flier who came in by ambulance, swears she is labor with her slammed shut cervix and her 10/10 pain scale, while she is on her Blackberry ordering Outback curbside-to-go that her girlfriend will pick up for her. Did I mention she is Medicaid or did you figure that one out. Meanwhile the patient next to her is pregnant with triplets, 1 demise, with very labile blood pressure readings who will later code on the table in the OR due to a amniotic fluid embolism and is now in the MICU with DIC and kidney failure. It takes a very special person to be an OB and an OB nurse. I respect you and love reading your blog. Keep on writing and venting...

Prisca said...

(((hugs))) Vent away and I will read an understand!!

Old MD Girl said...

Sheesh. Some of your readers really need to get a life. I really like the fact that you're not sanctimonious and that you tell it like it is. It's the people who love to tsk tsk everyone else who drive me crazy!

GingerB said...

Everybody gets cranky and needs to vent sometimes, but I think those who advise changing your system so you aren't being bothered with dumb calls when you should be resting have it right.



“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

mm said...

are you coming back?
I remember apologizing to my midwife when I paged her at 7:30 in the morning to give her a heads up that baby would probably arrive that night.
She laughed at me, I hadn't ever paged her through either pregnancy... so she figured I deserved to get her as she was stepping in to the shower.
:-)
I don't always like the 'medical profession' but that doesn't give me the right to judge them as a whole. I'd have dropped your blog years ago if I didn't like you.
;-)
hope you have the best of luck with a new job that can give you some more joy. Those little ones are going to be grown up and in school before you know it!
*I speak from experience here... and I'm a stay at home mom!*

Amanda said...

i'm an ob/gyn resident and love reading your blog. i was speaking recently with an attending about the inappropriate middle-of-the-night pages he deals with. he told me that after getting an obnoxious 2 am phone call, he called the patient back a couple days later - at 2 am - "just to check up". that was the end of the inappropriate calls.

unprofessional, yes, but it's nice to dream about. :)

dr. whoo? said...

Awww, you guys are the best!! Thanks for all the supportive comments, you rock! Thanks for reading, and don't worry, plenty of rants to come ;)

to anon (9/10) Thanks for coming back to clarify the intended meaning behind your words, since your first post had no helpful, "why don't you try to make your life better?" connotation to it whatsoever. Oh, besides the very *helpful* suggestion of moving out of medicine altogether.

You made it very obvious that you felt it was my very duty to be educating my poor, defenseless, "high need," under-educated patients. You can't have it both ways. A flame is a flame, not a thinly veiled attempt to "help."

As for hiring an answering service...that could be a great solution for people in private practice, people that don't admit surgical patients, or for people with deep pockets. Unfortunately, I am a hospital employee, which means having no say-so in the way that things are done. This is why I am looking to move on.

Having experience with answering services in the past, though, all it really is is an expensive middleman. You will still get paged for most after hour complaints because of the need to CYA in today's "look at me cross-eyed and I'll sue" society. It will just be the answering service paging in lieu of the patient directly.

sari said...

Dr. Whoo, first, congrats on your new job, I hope it is a better fit for you and your family.

I do have to admit that your "annoying things" entry was a little distressing, not because you don't deserve to rant, or because the people you described aren't complete idiots, and not because you don't deserve not to have precious sleep/family time interrupted with such nonsense, but because, well, I swear, several years ago, my group of female OBs was just like you....getting burnt out, thinking of patient observations about their pregnancies as "ruminations" and here's the result..

I was pg with mono/di twins (yes, it really does happen -- you are bigger than you are supposed to be, and despite never going near a fertility drug, you go in for that 18 week ultrasound and receive the shock of your life! -- and my OB had rolled her eyes during my last visit when I asked her if didn't she think I was too big for gestational age, and could it be twins?) but anyway, at 22 weeks, I could no longer wear my maternity clothes I had worn for my first pg, and my belly was growing so fast and so huge I had to hold it up with my hands, and my back hurt, and I couldn't breathe well, or even hardly walk. I called the office three times in ten days, even demanded to be seen, was passed around the group, with much eye rolling "of course you're big, you are having twins" and "you nurses" (my profession) "can never just do anything simply" until finally, I couldn't take it anymore and made that eve phone call to the OB on call, who was finally sick enough of me to admit me to the hospital, where I was "rescued" by the high risk doc (perinatologist) several hours later, who explained to the overworked OB that the large abdomen was caused by 3 extra liters of amniotic fluid that one of the twins had built up, and I wasn't just being whiny, and the twins actually had a potentially fatal disease (TTTS). By now I was 23+ weeks, and had very little time (just over 2 weeks) to decide if we would have surgery for it. We ended up not being able to arrange it, among other factors, and I was contracting by this time as well. Both babies would die, at the beginning of the third trimester. Not necessarily because of the heel dragging at the office, and the eye rolling, but let's just say I definitely did not feel cared for, nor was their attitude in my children's best interest.

The point of this long rambling story is that just because you are not familiar with a symptom doesn't mean that it is not significant. And it doesn't mean the mom is crazy. I do understand burnout. But please, remember to "be there".

sincerely,
sari

dr. bean said...

Calling back at 2 am would be unprofessional. Besides, they're likely to be awake then. I call back at 8 or 9 am, the same day, just to see how they're doing... ;)

Lawfrog said...

Burnout is so easy to come by in medicine and law. I am a "recovering lawyer" meaning that I've gotten out of the practice of law and am now moving toward another career path.

One of the things lawyers often put in the contracts with clients is that phone calls after 6 p.m. will be charged at double the hourly rate. That means the client can be paying anywhere from 400-600an hour, so you can bet they think very carefully about what they have to say and whether it can wait until the next day during regular hours.

It's a shame that we have to do that, but people simply do not respect the fact that professionals have a life of their own. We have families, friends, hobbies. Our time should be respected.

No one likes to receive calls in the middle of the night for things that can wait. It's akin to a friend calling you at 3 a.m. to say "Hey, can we reschedule dinner tomorrow night for 7 p.m. instead of 8 p.m?" No one would appreciate that phone call at 3 a.m. because it really could have waited until the next day. Same deal with doctors, lawyers, and other service providers.