Whatever happened to loving patient care?

When I was a student, we didn’t have a fraction of the fancy-Nancy technical and chemical treatments available that exist today.

To some, this is “progress” and I’m not against new developments. But it seems to me that the simple things have been lost in the haze and confusion.

The patient has now become almost a supernumerary!

He or she is “in the way” of important work to be done.

There are tubes, pills, enemas, trolleys, endless x-rays, and endless staring at the MRI scan screens to be carried out.

We haven’t time for the damned patient and his or her fads!

Certainly, there is little or no time to see he or she is comfortable, less fearful, assured and calm. And patients need Vitamin A, the A of Attention!


More drugs, more science, more labs, more tests, is the cry.

It’s a kind of techno frenzy.

Everything is made worse by the fact there is little time, in truth, to spend with each patient.

In the doctor’s office, time is often down to a few minutes.

Sometimes a VERY few minutes…Certainly no time for good old-fashioned TLC: Tender, Loving, Caring.

The patient doesn’t need TLC, the doctors and nurses think: he/she needs such and such a drug or such and such procedure.

Just talking to the patient is a waste of time.

It’s the first thing to go out the window.

Why bother?

Only the “treatment” is going to fix him or her.

Well, that shows a laudable—but highly misguided—reliance on what they consider to be the “correct” treatment, or at least the generally-agreed treatment.

It’s got to the stage where doctors don’t even LISTEN to the patient. “What does he or she know?”

That’s very arrogant and, again, foolish.

The patient is the source of all knowledge, whether it’s something he or she describes, or a test carried out on the patient’s body.

I don’t think doctors think of the patient as the center of action anymore.

Their labs and THEIR ideas and money-oriented opinions are what really count.

The patient is just a name and a case number.

No one likes to feel helpless. Unfortunately, many people with chronic pain and illness do feel helpless when it comes to their own healthcare experience.

And that’s a shame. Because when doctors don’t listen, or you can’t get a diagnosis, or you’re trapped in a waiting room for hours, it can make you feel so stressed and depressed that you actually start feeling worse instead of better.

Let’s face it. The current mainstream health care system is broken. Indeed the Florence Nightingale époque is over, forever.