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Letter: Medical staff needs to treat patients with more respect

Medical staff needs to treat patients with more respect

Patients are people with feelings and rights not to be belittled and minimized by their physicians or other health care personnel.

Recently while visiting a large health care facility I was examined with an electrocardiogram machine. The young male physician’s assistant called me by my first name. Being a mature female with normal feelings, who always addresses my patients by their last name and title, unless otherwise requested, I wondered who taught the physicians and other health care employees to minimize their clients, the folk that pay for their services.

Calling patients/clients by their first name is a minimizing tactic. It infantilizes/belittles them. Patients are often somewhat anxious when they have to be examined, to take off their clothes and are listening for the outcome of the particular procedure. They need to feel good about themselves and respected as they are taken through the necessary steps to determine the illness or outcome of their possible dilemma or discomfort. They need not, in addition, to be minimized.

The physicians and their assistants are the potential healers of the patient who is by no means happy to be ill or awaiting the outcome of a particular physical problem. The patient feels more comfortable and trusting with the physician who is friendly and attentive as well as respectful to the human being who feels he is in good “hands” and has come to a knowledgeable and caring physician.

Being minimized, infantilized and disrespectful is unacceptable.

Ursula A Falk