Gina Kolata has an article in the New York Times Health section this week about docs with poor bedside manners. It includes this gem:
The woman, who lives in Washington, asked not to be identified because she did not want her mother to know about her sex life. Her problem doctor was a new gynecologist she saw for a routine checkup. The doctor began the examination, inserting a speculum into the young woman's vagina.
"She asked if I was sexually active," the woman said. "I said I was. She asked if I was sexually active at this moment. I said yes."
The woman, presumably, also did not want her mother to know that she got off on speculum play.
But for every doctor who doesn't listen to patients, there is a patient who doesn't listen to doctors. (Actually I'm not sure of the exact ratio.) In October, the Health section ran an essay with a remarkable exchange. Allow me to introduce...
How 'Bout Those AIDS?
A Play in One Act
A few years ago, a young woman waited patiently to be seen in our office after hours. She was a patient of one of my colleagues, but she couldn't wait for their scheduled appointment; she needed to see someone right away.
"I'm worried I have Lyme disease," she said. "I have all the symptoms. I think I need to be treated."
"But you have AIDS," I said.
"I'm tired and weak and I have fevers and sweats. I've lost my appetite. I can't think straight. I'm losing so much weight!"
She had seen a TV news report on Lyme disease, and then she had checked the Internet. All her symptoms were right there.
"But you have AIDS," I said. "And you don't want to take meds. That's why you're feeling so bad."
"I'm really scared about Lyme disease," she said. "I really need to get treated."
"If you want to be scared, how about that untreated AIDS of yours?"
...And so it went, until she died of AIDS.
By the way, today is World AIDS Day. Act like you know.