An Addendum to’ Are doctors still discriminating? ‘
On September 3, I posted the third in a series of blogs called Are Doctors Still Discriminating? And, after receiving a few comments, I feel the need to add an explanation and apologize for putting all physicians in the same basket. It was thoughtless of me and I feel the need to apologize.
When a doctor asks a question and his patient doesn’t describe his symptoms lucidly, or, if the patient has an odd way of speaking or strange mannerisms, the doctor often puts it down to the fact that this patient was diagnosed as once suffering from a mental illness.
When our son was ill, we searched high and low for the ‘right psychiatrist’ for him. Then we searched for someone who would explain paranoid schizophrenia to us in a way we could understand, as well as give us coping tools, as we needed lots of them.
When searching for any therapist, one has to find someone who is compatible with one’s needs, so if a person with a mental illness needs a physician, it takes a bit longer as he/she has to do the rounds, ask questions, and then find one who does not discriminate. He/she needs to find a physician who knows how to put questions to this particular patient, but I realize that there are many obstacles in the doctor’s way, so, remaining open-minded is not always easy.
Of course NOT ALL doctors discriminate against people with a mental illness.
Yet, quite recently, a young woman called to confide in me and said that she never visits a doctor on her own as she knows that she’ll lose all credibility of being a professional as soon as she mentions her psychiatric history to many health care professionals. Having someone with her gives her status somehow. She went on to add that it was a sad reality. ‘It’s dehumanizing, when the patient has to figure out which doctor to talk to – or not,’ she went on to tell me.
While listening to her, it brought back the time I’d read that a dark-skinned person had visited a fair-skinned doctor and did not receive the treatment he should have received.
I know that it’s difficult for doctors, especially when a patient does not respond to his/her current meds.
Of course this blog is not directed at the doctors who are able to empathize and who really listen and hear what their patient is trying to tell them.
Don’t lose faith in humanity as humanity is an ocean. If a few drops in the ocean are dirty, the ocean dos not become dirty. Mahatma Ghandi.
Have a good day.