Take a Number, Be a Number

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I was at my orthopedist’s office not too long ago. I heard him say as he was talking to one of the residents, in my presence, “Have you checked on number 17 yet?” I was shocked at this. He didn’t use the patient’s name but rather their room number.  If he didn’t want to use the patient’s name in front of another patient, then he could simply have taken his conversation into the hall.

Is that all we patients are to clinicians like this, merely a room number to be checked off? What a shame. And truly shameful behavior on their part. Now I realize that they have multiple patients to see and care for in a day. But that’s what they signed on for. To reduce the people in their care (us) to numbers is depersonalizing and unkind.

I didn’t say anything at the time – I guess I was too speechless. I had observed a careless “bedside manner” to say the least. I was told I would be getting a survey to fill out to tell them about my visit. I will no doubt be detailing what I thought of it. I only hope it has some effect and isn’t tossed off like some other annoyance like the “numerous” patients they are responsible for treating.

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