(discussing pat…

(discussing patient-physician interactions between opposite sex)

Saurabh: No matter how professional you are, the patient ..and the doctor…is dealing with a person. Especially in India, most ob gyns are female. 

Me: I remember in med school we had people come in, preceptors, who let us do those exams on them. The lady was really outgoing, all ‘I lived in the 70s and did the whole mirror-looking-at-your-own vagina-thing’. But I still felt bad for her, because here is a whole line of strangers waiting to examine you that way. So I thought I’d do what Patch Adams did, treat her like a person- not just a body part we use to learn from. So I smiled at her, you know, to connect. And ..she freaked out. Her eyes widened and she said ‘now, I may be a hippie and flower child and all, but I don’t..I’m no lesbian’ …I was mortified!  I was just smiling too, I didn’t waggle my eyebrows or anything! What made her think that?!

Alanna: You were wearing a scarlet ‘L’

Me: Anyways, the moral of the story is: be a robot.

Alanna (robot voice): I am here to examine you. Lay down. You appear to be displaying emotions, would you like assistance with that? (Mr roboto dances)

Me (stiffly patting imaginary patient’s head): There, there now. 


Looking back, I understand what I did wrong. The patient’s whole bravado thing was just show, her way of going through the process. She was vulnerable, and needed that shield of nonchalance, and for me to break that barrier made the whole process too personal. Goes to show you can’t always trust movies with Robin Williams in it*.



* Cross dressing nannies aren’t always awesome. See also, Mrs. Doubtfire.


Published in: on December 17, 2011 at 3:17 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. interesting. maybe some patients would also respond well to impersonalness.

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