The one thing doctors wish their patients would stop doing?
Doctors always encounter that one patient on every rotation. You know, the patient who spent five minutes on Google and is convinced they know more than the doctor, who spent years in medical school and residency to become a healthcare expert.
Although doctors actually like it when their patients are informed, the problem arises when patients demand extensive, invasive testing and treatments based on solely on internet research.
Cardiologist Dr. Ami Bhatt explains:
"While it’s always important for patients to be informed, the most important facet of these advances in information dissemination is patient and physician engagement. ...Oftentimes, the information a patient finds is not even relevant to their specific situation. This has happened to me as a doctor and as a patient.
"Unfortunately, information taken out of context can be frightening and confusing. In this era where time for the doctor and patient to connect in person is limited, we need physicians to have the time to communicate with their patients about what they are learning."
Cyberchondriacs aren’t even the worst patients. The doctors of Reddit reveal the most annoying things patients can do.
“Eating before surgery. Not only will it most likely cancel your surgery and screw up the schedule you risk vomiting into your lungs which can kill you.”–propofolme
Eating before surgery falls into both the “annoying” and “dangerous” categories. Contrary to what a hungry patient might believe, doctors do not want to torture you. You shouldn’t eat several hours prior to surgery because of the risk of aspiration, in which the contents of the stomach empty into the lungs while you’re under anesthesia.
Aspiration can cause major complications during surgery. If your doctor or anesthesiologist tells you not to eat prior to surgery, stay strong and avoid the temptation to chow down before a trip to the operating room.
“You do NOT need antibiotics for your cold. If you have some infection that requires antibiotics, take the entire dose. Don't stop taking them when you feel better, and hoard the remainders for the next time you think you're getting sick.”–pm_me_baby_pig_pics
A recent study suggested that patients may not need to finish a whole course of antibiotics for medication to be effective. But most doctors agree that there just isn’t enough evidence to support this claim and that patients should absolutely finish the whole course of antibiotics they are prescribed.
Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infection. If you have a virus, antibiotics won’t work.
If you are prescribed antibiotics for a bacterial infection, you may begin to feel better within a couple of days of starting treatment, but that doesn’t mean the infection has been eliminated.
The infection could come back, leading to another round of antibiotics, which can build up a resistance to antibiotic treatment over time. If you develop immunity to certain antibiotics, they may not work the next time you get sick.
“Constantly telling me how much they hate the dentist. I GET IT. IT'S NOT FUN HERE.”–rspkt3
Your dentist is aware that having a root canal is no fun. Your dentist also knows that if you don’t have one, you risk getting a serious infection that could literally spread through your entire body. So think twice before telling your dentist how much you hate sitting in their chair.
Want to spend less time in the dentist’s chair? Prevention is key. Dentists recommend regular brushing and flossing, getting plenty of calcium, and limiting caffeinated beverages to keep teeth healthy.
“Complain about being in the worst abdominal pain imaginable then eat hot wings.”–ptolemaeus_II
If your doctor believes you are in the most excruciating pain of your life, they will do everything they can to stop that pain.
When you exaggerate, you run the risk of unnecessary testing (which might cause more pain than you’re currently in). In addition, doctors can’t truly gauge your symptoms if you’re fibbing about them.
A nurse in New York reiterates, "If you're happily texting and laughing with your friends until the second you spot me walking into your room, I'm not going to believe that your pain is a ten out of ten."
Instead, be honest with your doctor. If you’re not in that much pain, but you know something isn’t right, a good doctor will still take you just as seriously.
“Coming into the emergency department to be seen while eating a bag of chips or stopping for fast food prior to coming. This place is for EMERGENCIES. If you were able to stop for food beforehand you don't need to be seen.”–noentic
People misuse the emergency room for a number of reasons. Patients don’t have a regular primary care physicians. Cyberchondria fuels health fears that just can’t wait. The emergency room is always open, etc.
Packed emergency rooms lead to long wait times, and patients can rack up pricey bills for routine services. If you are considering a trip to the emergency room, check to see if your situation is truly an emergency.
If not, consider a trip to the local urgent care instead.
Urgent care doctors can treat just about anything and will also let you know if your symptoms warrant further investigation in the emergency room.
“Showing up late to an early morning appointment—you ever wonder why your doctor is always late? It's because the first appointment showed up 30 minutes late, has two extra problems to talk about, and by the time your appointment comes, we are 45 minutes behind. I don't mind the extra problems—in fact, I want to know these things—I do care about you. But please consider other people.”–DrBearcut
Doctors do work on a very strict schedule. It might seem like no big deal to show up five minutes late for an appointment, but by the end of the day, doctors could be hours behind.
When your doctor asks you to show up 15 minutes prior to an appointment, it’s common courtesy to be there on time. By showing up on time, you give your doctor plenty of time to devote to your care, as well as that of other patients.
“Being hostile to doctors and nurses does not result in better medical care for you or your loved one.”–littlespoot
Instead of berating a doctor for your or a loved one’s pain, try to understand their position.
Doctors worry about whether they made the right call for every single patient in their care.
Sure, they knew what they were getting into when they chose their profession, but doctors are people too.
Some doctors work extraordinarily long shifts—often 24 to 48 hours at a time—caring for a whole caseload of sick patients. A kind word to your doctor will go a lot farther than an angry tirade.
Likewise, don’t complain about other doctors you’ve previously seen. As Dr. Allen Roberts explains, "Your complaints about your prior doctor will not endear you to us. The more you say, the less we want to deal with you."
Your doctors might be colleagues or friends. Even if they aren’t, complaining about previously medical care tells your current provider you’ll most likely complain about their care too.