Wednesday, January 17, 2007


It amazes me how many patients just don't seem to care too much about their medical care. It's not that they can't grasp the finite details of their medical problems, they don't even understand the basic concept of what ails them. And it's not denial, or fear, or that these patients are mentally challenged and thus incapable of understanding their disease, they are normal folks who just don't seem to care to know about what's going on with them.

These people have various medical illnesses, but they just walk around and go about life in willful ignorance. Their complete and utter apathy blows me away.

Example 1

Me: So what brings you to see me today?

Patient: My doctor told me to come.

Me: Yes, I see that. But what's bothering you?

Patient: I don't know. I was told to come here today.

Me: You don't know why you're here?

Patient: No. I got this in the mail that told me to come. [Hands over an appointment form]

Me: Well, is there anything bothering you?

Patient: No.

Me: Well, I'm a surgeon. Do you remember if your doctor told you that you needed an operation for something?

Patient: [blank stare]
* * *
Example 2

Me: What kind of surgery did the other doctors do?

Patient The doctors operated on my belly.

Me: Yes. I understand that. But what did they do?

Patient: I dunno! Something! Go look in my chart.
* * *
Example 3

Me: Which part of the colon was removed?

Patient: What do you mean "which part"?

Me: Was it the right side, the left side...

Patient: [blank stare]

Me: OK, well, do know you know why they removed your colon?

Patient: No... should I?
* * *
Example 4

Me: What medicines do you take?

Patient: Well I take a pink pill, a green pill, and a little round pill.

Me: Do you know the names of those medicines?

Patient: No.

Me: Well, can you tell me what you take the pills for?

Patient: The doctor told me to.

Me: Do you have any medical problems?

Patient: No. Them pills took care of all that.