Empathy can be learned!!!

"Greater physician empathy

"Greater physician empathy has been associated with fewer medical errors, better patient outcomes and more satisfied patients."

So - it would be good then to ask yourself how your doctor rates on empathy.

You might not understand your care very well, but you need to listen to your gut and rate your doctor on how he or she makes you feel.

Do you feel unheard?

Do you feel rushed?

Do you feel intimidated?

If so, the odds are that you are at risk for a medical error and a poorer outcome.

Interesting stuff. Eye-wink

That was a good article

Smiling
That was a good article impatient.

Doctors will only change if they want to and unfortunately those who lack empathy probably lack the desire to improve.

I wonder if some doctors deliberately/subconsciously disconnect from their patients as a defense mechanism. If I truly felt empathy for all my patients, which I hope I would if I were a doctor, it could be incredibly draining. When one disconnects I think it much easier to deal with difficult situations.

Others may have decreased empathy through the routine nature of the job and need a friendly reminder now and then.

There should be professional development classes every year consisting of role reversal. Patients can exam the doctors. We can let them sit in the waiting room for three hours, ask them to disrobe and hand them a washcloth to cover their private parts.... Big smile ....perform rectal exams, draw blood missing the vein a few times. Maybe it would help stimulate some empathy.

gagal wrote: There should be

gagal wrote:

There should be professional development classes every year consisting of role reversal. Patients can exam the doctors. We can let them sit in the waiting room for three hours, ask them to disrobe and hand them a washcloth to cover their private parts.... Big smile ....perform rectal exams, draw blood missing the vein a few times. Maybe it would help stimulate some empathy.

Rectal exams? Laughing out loud

I'd just like to find a copy of Surgery for Dummies and take it to the O.R. where I'd find a certain surgeon anesthesized and an instrument tray laid out ...

MicOnTheNorthShore

MicOnTheNorthShore wrote:
gagal wrote:

There should be professional development classes every year consisting of role reversal. Patients can exam the doctors. We can let them sit in the waiting room for three hours, ask them to disrobe and hand them a washcloth to cover their private parts.... Big smile ....perform rectal exams, draw blood missing the vein a few times. Maybe it would help stimulate some empathy.

Rectal exams? Laughing out loud

I'd just like to find a copy of Surgery for Dummies and take it to the O.R. where I'd find a certain surgeon anesthesized and an instrument tray laid out ...

I may have gotten carried away with a little fantasy regarding the rectal exam,
and besides if I did it just right it would stimulate something other than empathy. Evil

"How should doctors and

"How should doctors and health professionals deal with patients who are rude or difficult?

A. When they run into emotional obstacles like anger, or manipulation or even rudeness, those are just surface behaviors that are covering up for tremendous vulnerability and fear."

Regarding Twain’s manipulative patient, the above was all I was trying to say. I am not an eloquent speaker and would not make a good politician. Smiling

Doctors have a unique experience in that they are often working with people at their very worst; those who are feeling vulnerable, scared, tired, in pain….

Patients need empathy from their doctor in the same way they need a prescription. It makes us feel better.

“Patients need to help doctors know when they don’t understand, when they’re feeling that they’re not being listened to. They need to develop more courage to ask questions so that it really can be about a relationship rather than just receiving information.”

Not a very empathic statement. Big smile As always, patients need to take responsibility for speaking up, but that can be difficult when one is suffering.

gagal wrote: Patients need

gagal wrote:

Patients need empathy from their doctor in the same way they need a prescription. It makes us feel better.

Absolutely GG - It's healing.
But I don't know why I'm starting to cry right now.

gagal wrote:

“Patients need to help doctors know when they don’t understand, when they’re feeling that they’re not being listened to. They need to develop more courage to ask questions so that it really can be about a relationship rather than just receiving information.”

Not a very empathic statement. Big smile As always, patients need to take responsibility for speaking up, but that can be difficult when one is suffering.

Patient engagement can improve safety. It needs to be encouraged.

But sometimes patients, for one reason or another (elderly, imtimidated, fearful, or fragile) become discouraged and disengaged.

Maybe what is needed is a system which encourages patients to speak up.

Do our systems encourage speaking up? Puzzled

gagal wrote: Patients need

gagal wrote:

Patients need empathy from their doctor in the same way they need a prescription. It makes us feel better.

And I believe that being disrespected and dismissed is like receiving the wrong medicine; a medicine that can cause harm.

It's just not good medicine to be disrespected and dismissed.

gagal wrote: That was a good

gagal wrote:

Smiling
That was a good article impatient.

Doctors will only change if they want to and unfortunately those who lack empathy probably lack the desire to improve.

I wonder if some doctors deliberately/subconsciously disconnect from their patients as a defense mechanism. If I truly felt empathy for all my patients, which I hope I would if I were a doctor, it could be incredibly draining. When one disconnects I think it much easier to deal with difficult situations.

Others may have decreased empathy through the routine nature of the job and need a friendly reminder now and then.

There should be professional development classes every year consisting of role reversal. Patients can exam the doctors. We can let them sit in the waiting room for three hours, ask them to disrobe and hand them a washcloth to cover their private parts.... Big smile ....perform rectal exams, draw blood missing the vein a few times. Maybe it would help stimulate some empathy.

I want to see each of them perched on a table covered only in that cheapskate paper sheet!!! Talk about making my day!!! My poor husband had a hydrocele (spelling bad--anyway it was on his testicle) & had to have surgery. We went in to check up & they had me come in to find out how to help care for the would. The poor man was lying there with his pants down around his hips & all his business exposed on a table facing the door--not even a paper sheet!!

gagal

gagal wrote:
MicOnTheNorthShore wrote:
gagal wrote:

There should be professional development classes every year consisting of role reversal. Patients can exam the doctors. We can let them sit in the waiting room for three hours, ask them to disrobe and hand them a washcloth to cover their private parts.... Big smile ....perform rectal exams, draw blood missing the vein a few times. Maybe it would help stimulate some empathy.

Rectal exams? Laughing out loud

I'd just like to find a copy of Surgery for Dummies and take it to the O.R. where I'd find a certain surgeon anesthesized and an instrument tray laid out ...

I may have gotten carried away with a little fantasy regarding the rectal exam,
and besides if I did it just right it would stimulate something other than empathy. Evil

I'll do the rectals if I can have double, double gloves. Can guarantee nothing will be stimulated except mortified feelings.

Well - it seems that

Well - it seems that compassion can get a doctor disciplined:

Third strike for Mississauga doctor after he prescribes to a dog
MD is suspended by college after complaint from vet

What was supposedly an act of compassion has put a Mississauga-based doctor in the doghouse.

Dr. Galdino Pontarini was told Tuesday by a College of Physicians disciplinary committee that he overstepped his bounds after prescribing medication to a dog.

The pooch belonged to one of Pontarini’s patients. Over a one-year period beginning in August 2009, Pontarini doled out 10 prescriptions for two types of antiseizure medication — until the dog’s real doctor, a veterinarian, complained to the college. The vet told the college that Pontarini hadn’t properly assessed the pet before prescribing the medication.

Calling his behaviour “careless” and concerning, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario suspended his licence for a month, starting June 30. Pontarini was also permanently banned from prescribing narcotic and controlled drugs.

Pontarini played down the College’s findings of “disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional” conduct when asked to comment after the hearing.

The original allegations included incompetence involving the care and treatment of 21 patients, some of which related to record-keeping and prescribing medication without proper diagnoses. However, the incompetence charge was dropped at the hearing, when neither party contested the facts brought before the committee.

Pontarini agreed to a year-long re-education program in medical record-keeping with another doctor, after which his progress will be reassessed.

Before making its decision, the disciplinary committee heard counsel for both sides present a joint submission on the penalties. The committee’s legal counsel noted that they’d have to approve the proposed penalties regardless, unless they found them to be contrary to public interest.

Pontarini’s lawyer argued that the doctor is a well-loved figure in Mississauga’s Italian-Canadian community, who has often treated multiple generations of families since he began his practice in 1978.

Despite these sentiments, this is the third time he’s come before the committee. The last was six years ago, when his licence was suspended for two months following charges that were heard a year prior in the Ontario Court of Justice.

In 2005, he was fined more than $200,000 for four counts of tax evasion, after he failed to report his income and overstated his business expenses over a three-year period. The disciplinary committee found these charges to be “relevant to his suitability to practice.”

While this committee appearance was deemed irrelevant during the hearing, another infraction from 2000 was brought up as an example of why he needed to be re-educated.

Back then, his licence was suspended for nine months for “erratic” behaviour and failing to keep adequate medical records.

Toronto Star

http://www.thespec.com/news/ontario/article/750653--third-strike-for-mississauga-doctor-after-he-prescribes-to-a-dog

And from what I have seen - a

And from what I have seen - a complete lack of empathy for a large number of patients, many of them very likely elderly, never ever led to the discipline committee.

But - now that I think of it - the Investigator for the CPSO, a registered nurse, had a complete lack of empathy too.

Empathy can be learned.

But does empathy need to be learned?

wishandaprayer wrote: Third

wishandaprayer wrote:

Third strike for Mississauga doctor after he prescribes to a dog
MD is suspended by college after complaint from vet

This is the first time I've heard of an MD prescribing to a canine.

I have a friend who went through a couple of pain docs and several GPs (retirement, moving) before finally giving up on the "people" medical community to provide ongong pain therapy. This friend is a large animal breeder. Smiling Suffice it to say that the slow release morphine that was previously prescribed by an MD is now ensured by the animals' veterinarian (at the previous dose).

wishandaprayer wrote:

Despite these sentiments, this is the third time he’s come before the committee. The last was six years ago, when his licence was suspended for two months following charges that were heard a year prior in the Ontario Court of Justice.

It sounds like the good doctor either appealed a College finding or was directly hauled into court by a complainant. Another canine? Laughing out loud

wishandaprayer wrote:

In 2005, he was fined more than $200,000 for four counts of tax evasion, after he failed to report his income and overstated his business expenses over a three-year period. The disciplinary committee found these charges to be “relevant to his suitability to practice.”

Relevant? Ya think? Is this practitioner just lazy with pencil and paper or is he playing fast and loose? If those are administrative fines, the shortfall on his reported income would have been approaching the $1 million mark.

wishandaprayer wrote:

While this committee appearance was deemed irrelevant during the hearing, another infraction from 2000 was brought up as an example of why he needed to be re-educated.

Back then, his licence was suspended for nine months for “erratic” behaviour and failing to keep adequate medical records.

Another infraction? Prescribing to animals, income tax evasion, inadequate record keeping ... what's left? Laughing out loud

Erratic? I'll bet this doc is a howling riot in person. I can imagine the sign at his office reception: "Patients will be billed for all paperwork related to non-medical services. Prescriptions for their pets must be paid in cash.".

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p

Wisher, you are so funny.

Wisher, you are so funny. You seem to be in a "stay on topic" frenzy.

Have the tables turned or what!!!

I'll post something on topic later. I just had to quickly throw in this observation.

MicOnTheNorthShore wrote: It

MicOnTheNorthShore wrote:

It sounds like the good doctor either appealed a College finding or was directly hauled into court by a complainant. Another canine? Laughing out loud

From what I have seen, if the the College Investigator can produce any evidence that the complainant is merely a bitch, then the Medical Expert and the Complaints Committee have all the information which they need to make their decision.

The truth is bitches don't matter. And like bitches, elderly people don't matter because often they have difficulty communicating their concerns - and therefore - like bitches, their concerns can be ignored.

Empathy is not a requirement for an RN when she acts as a College Investigator; the complainant is not a patient of hers, and therefore the CNO rules do not apply to her. One is not one too many when it comes to the abuse by a College Investigator.

It would certainly seem to me that the Investigator's actions and inactions are intended to provoke a strong reaction, thereby revealing to the Medical Expert and the Complaints Committee to have empathy for the doctor for having to put up with the canine.

Note: The Complaints Committee consists of 2 doctors (members of the CMPA, no doubt), and one little lady; a Ms. Sutherland, at least it did for 3 cases which I am familiar with.

The Medical Expert has his or identity protected by the rules and regulations, and doesn't have to sign any kind of legal document to ensure that their medical expert opinion is fair and unbiased and based on all of the required evidence necessary to form a fair opinion.

Yesterday, I read articles by Lucian Leape et al. A Culture of Respect, Part 1 and Part 2. It was bringing me peace and hope.

I guess I'm going to need to re-read them today. The situation seems hopeless.

Maybe it's time to speak with St. Jude. He's the patron saint of hopeless cases, but I don't know whether or not there is a clause omitting certain classes of people, like the elderly or myself.

I'll let you know.

gagal wrote: Wisher, you are

gagal wrote:

Wisher, you are so funny. You seem to be in a "stay on topic" frenzy.

Yes, because it gets to the heart of the matter for me. Empathy is vital.

While patients are having their vital signs checked, perhaps patients should be checking the doctor's empathy signs; it's that important.

In the past, I didn't think that it was; look where that got me. Stare

Going to google Empathy Signs now. Innocent

Well isn't this

Well isn't this amazing:

http://www.signingsavvy.com/sign/EMPATHY

Looks like he's performing magic, and empathy could just be magical.

Empathy has the power to heal, and if we can see and feel the signs of empathy, then perhaps we will have the power to heal.

What's the opposite of

What's the opposite of empathy? Stare

Maybe I should just google for sign language with the middle fingers in an upward position? Puzzled

impatientpatien wrote: gagal

impatientpatien wrote:
gagal wrote:

Smiling
That was a good article impatient.

Doctors will only change if they want to and unfortunately those who lack empathy probably lack the desire to improve.

I wonder if some doctors deliberately/subconsciously disconnect from their patients as a defense mechanism. If I truly felt empathy for all my patients, which I hope I would if I were a doctor, it could be incredibly draining. When one disconnects I think it much easier to deal with difficult situations.

Others may have decreased empathy through the routine nature of the job and need a friendly reminder now and then.

There should be professional development classes every year consisting of role reversal. Patients can exam the doctors. We can let them sit in the waiting room for three hours, ask them to disrobe and hand them a washcloth to cover their private parts.... Big smile ....perform rectal exams, draw blood missing the vein a few times. Maybe it would help stimulate some empathy.

I want to see each of them perched on a table covered only in that cheapskate paper sheet!!! Talk about making my day!!! My poor husband had a hydrocele (spelling bad--anyway it was on his testicle) & had to have surgery. We went in to check up & they had me come in to find out how to help care for the would. The poor man was lying there with his pants down around his hips & all his business exposed on a table facing the door--not even a paper sheet!!

I had a similar experience.

When I was pregnant with my first I was extremely sick. I was in the hospital receiving a transvaginal ultrasound to find out if everything was okay. My “business” was facing an open door with people walking by and looking in. One guy actually turned his head back to get a better look. I was so sick! I was thinking of asking the technician to close the door; it was one of those really wide hospital doors but was afraid I would puke if I opened my mouth.

Funny thing is the guy giving me the ultrasound was very respectful in every other way. He didn’t even look when inserting the probe and had great aim unlike some men.

I don’t like when doctors assume since you are husband and wife that you share EVERYTHING. If I am in with a doctor I expect him to ask me if my husband may come in.

I had a nurse once go out and get my husband and told him to come in without even asking me. My husband took one look at me and said, "I’ll wait outside."

He knows me so well. Love

gagal wrote: I wonder if some

gagal wrote:

I wonder if some doctors deliberately/subconsciously disconnect from their patients as a defense mechanism. If I truly felt empathy for all my patients, which I hope I would if I were a doctor, it could be incredibly draining. When one disconnects I think it much easier to deal with difficult situations.

You may be onto something here

After my internship I did 1-2 months of selected rotations to help me decide where I wanted to go from there.

One full month I spent as the psychiatry resident taking the history and formulating treatment plans for every psych patient seen in the emergency room. It was the most emotionally and physically exhausting rotation I've ever done; definitely more so than surgery, where I started much earlier and finished much later each day.

A professional level of

A professional level of empathy gives me energy and is helpful to my patients, but if it becomes more of a personal level of empathy; if it takes too much from me, then it can be very draining. I have detached to protect myself from becoming overwhelmed. As silly as it sounds, country music can be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

It's difficult to explain. I just know that I have been energized by feelings of empathy; feeling connected to the patient and feeling that I was lifting that patient's energy level higher - but - there have been times, not many, when I have felt too much empathy and it lowered my energy level and I believe that it had a negative effect on my patient.

I know that my empathy has been healing for an elderly friend of mine, but I feel so powerless to help him, and that is draining. I hope that I can continue to maintain a positive level of empathy and energy for him. He deserves that.

Twain wrote: gagal wrote: I

Twain wrote:
gagal wrote:

I wonder if some doctors deliberately/subconsciously disconnect from their patients as a defense mechanism. If I truly felt empathy for all my patients, which I hope I would if I were a doctor, it could be incredibly draining. When one disconnects I think it much easier to deal with difficult situations.

You may be onto something here

After my internship I did 1-2 months of selected rotations to help me decide where I wanted to go from there.

One full month I spent as the psychiatry resident taking the history and formulating treatment plans for every psych patient seen in the emergency room. It was the most emotionally and physically exhausting rotation I've ever done; definitely more so than surgery, where I started much earlier and finished much later each day.

I would think surgery tends to be physically and mentally draining, but a good night sleep would bring you right back.

I have only been emotionally drained a couple of times in my life, but from what I remember, it keeps you up at night and wears on you day after day, time being the only relief.

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