Put away your phone!
"I hate when patients text during a visit. It tells me that they do not value my time. I feel disrespected. I have left patients talking on their phone in the examining room and moved on to see another patient." —David Broyles, DO, a doctor of family medicine who practices in the Philadelphia suburbs. These are 11 other annoying habits patients have, according to doctors.
Oncologists hate pink
"Of course raising money is great. But during breast cancer–awareness month, in October, everyone comes in thinking she has advanced breast cancer. Our patients hate it because they can't go anywhere without being reminded of their disease." —James C. Salwitz, MD, a medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer in East Brunswick, New Jersey. Learn the secrets nurses won't tell you.
Don't ask me to lie
"I'll get a call from a daughter who says, 'Don't tell my dad I called you, but you need to know he's having chest pains again.' Now I'm not supposed to know, but I do know, which is bad for everyone. I want to sit down and say, 'John, your daughter says you're having symptoms that you're not telling me about.' I don't like those kinds of secrets." —Vincent Bufalino, MD, senior vice president of cardiovascular services for Advocate Health Care in Chicago. Here are more common lies patients tell their doctors.
Your missed appointments really worry me...
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"I want to give my patients the best care, so I get frustrated when they turn it around and accuse me of trying to 'pay for my new boat' instead of taking responsibility for their disease. When patients delay treatment, something as simple as a filling can become involved and costly." —Colleen DeLacy, DDS, a dentist in Sandusky, Michigan. Find out the lingo that doctors and nurses use behind your back.
...But late is better than never
"When a patient finally comes in, years late, I walk in with a smile and an outstretched hand. 'Where have you been, stranger? So glad you are here! Tell me, what has happened since I last saw you? I know patients are busy. I know it is not in our nature to think about our health, even though we should. With good health, you can always make more money. With more money, you can't always buy good health. So the fact you are here is a good thing.'" —Davis Liu, MD, a board-certified family doctor in Sacramento, California
I'm not scared of your Google search
"When patients come in with three inches of printouts, I know I'm going to have a good conversation. But they've also almost always terrified themselves beyond need. I wish they would e-mail or call me so I could put things in perspective. But in general, patients who have researched their condition tend to educate faster and take better control of their care." —James C. Salwitz, MD. Doctors say these are the worst mistakes patients make.
I could use sympathy too
"Many doctors have depression, so don't take it personally if they seem distant. Our greatest desire is to help patients. That's why we delayed starting our lives until our 30s. Many doctors give up their own family life to overextend themselves to you. And they're kind of a mess after years of doing that. I'd like to see more patients have more empathy for doctors. It would be so great if a patient said, 'You look kind of frazzled today. Can I give you a hug?'" —Pamela Wible, MD, a board-certified family physician in Eugene, Oregon
Tell me your story, not your symptoms
"I like it when my patients in the ER tell me things like 'I was running my usual five miles when at mile one, I started to have chest pains that stopped when I sat.' That's much more helpful than just saying 'I had chest pains.'" —Leana S. Wen, MD, director of Patient-Centered Care Research at George Washington University
I contradict you very carefully
"Even if a patient is wrong about her problem, it's not helpful to tell her so. Finding the right answer is the best way to dispel the wrong answer. I never try to shake someone's belief until we have enough facts to do it." —Mark Liponis, MD, corporate medical director of Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts. These health myths make doctors cringe.
I trust your gut
"Parents are so smart and so intuitive and know what's normal for their child and what's not. So I always work to take them seriously." —Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, a pediatrician in Mill Creek, Washington. By the way, doctors don't follow these health rules—so you shouldn't either.