Doctors Doom & Death


Just when you start to doubt yourself and wonder if you’re the only person experiencing something, you discover you aren’t alone. So it is with my impressions of doctors.

I don’t dislike doctors. But I’m not a fan of the medical rotation which hospitals employ. One of the doctors on our rotation I referred to as Doctor Death. That’s because virtually all of our conversations were about death. They may have been coached in softer terms, like “letting go”, but the end meaning was the same.

Our very first conversation was in a telephone call. She wanted to know if I knew our family member had a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order in place. I said yes, I was there for in-take questions. I was taken aback by the call because when I left our family member, who was only in hospital to be monitored, that person was sitting up eating a chicken salad sandwich and carrying on a conversation.

As our situation grew in duration Doctor Death always questioned any mention of treatment. There was a constant pushback from her. At one point when we were discussing a transfusion, she said, “If that’s what you want.” She made it sound as if there was an unspoken alternative. So I asked, “What is the alternative?” “We make (the patient) comfortable.”

In other words, let the person bleed to death. That was a bit too medieval for me. This doctor made every treatment or investigation seem life threatening and painful. When we would raise questions with her colleagues, the specialists looked at us as if we were crazy. After seven months when they finally discovered the medical problem and I had agreed to a recommended treatment, Doctor Death made a face and told me the treatments could take weeks, if not months, and rattled off a list of side effects. In fact, the actual treatment took less than five minutes and there were no side effects. So this doctor has no credibility with me. I felt she considered DNR as DNT (Do Not Treat).

A friend in New Brunswick told me of an elderly female friend of his who was in hospital, on a doctor rotation and whose family referred to one of her doctors as Doctor Doom. While the other doctors were positive, he was negative and resistant to any treatment. The family’s distrust was so great that when he was on rotation, they ensured they spent more time at the patient’s bedside to prevent him from doing anything against their and the patient’s wishes.

This would be commical if lives weren’t at stake.

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