Doctor? What is the most important task you have with the patient before you?
First, to just be a good doctor. Hands down, the most important thing to your patients, and their families. It is your dharma, or correct action, your real pathway as a healer. So, why do we need to even discuss this?
Two reasons.
First, it’s never to my knowledge ever been mentioned in practice building parlance as the true pathway to success and fulfillment in practice.
Second, with practice development at times, it seems it’s always about new patients, money, this marketing thing or that new technique. Just get more new patients, and everything will be fine.
Now, I will never dispute these things are important. They are!
It’s just when these items become the focus of the doctor during patient contact hours, or worse yet a head full of administrative BS on any given day, patient care does suffer. Let’s admit it, we are all human.
So, with this in mind, I am sharing the following story. (Also, if it’s been
a while, go back to “Creating YOUR Perfect Practice”, for much much more on
this issue).
Annie is a real patient. She is about 45, sweet as can be to myself, and my wife (who worked in the office for 20 years). I took care of her two older boys, one of whom has just graduated college. Annie and Dave her husband are fabulous people, wonderful family. The kind I feel privileged to help care for over an extended period, not to mention all those friends and family they have referred to me.
Two years ago, she suffers a lumbar disc herniation. A big one, can’t get out of bed for three weeks kind. She tells me she’s been to the ER, and PCPs office, seeing different providers, mostly NPs, on each visit. She was frustrated by all this, but says that’s her insurance. She has to go through all these steps.
When she eventually makes it back to see me after, six months have passed. She had an MRI, at month one, and has been on meds ever since. She is unable to work, depressed and really hurting.
I examine her, she has partial foot drop, hyporeflexia etc. I put up her MRI films, and within five minutes have a neurosurgery consult set up. Now she really is hard on herself for not calling me six months ago. I think she said her friends and family scared her out of it, because of the MRI results.
(To be continued)
Dr. John Hayes, Jr.
Perfect Practice Web

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