Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Do doctors actually care about us?

Why are we scared to question our healthcare providers?

Do doctors and healthcare providers actually care about our well-being… or are they just being paid to pretend?

I found myself asking this question as I sat twiddling my thumbs in a sterilized room while a doctor talked at me for a whopping total of ten minutes.

“Any questions?” she asked. 

“Nope,” I replied.

Truthfully, I had questions. 

But, between you and me– I was too intimidated to ask. 

My mom, in the corner of the room like a trainer in a boxing ring, prompted me to ask my question. I shot her a look hoping she’d come to my rescue, read my mind and ask the question for me. But she didn’t.

We both threw in the towel of defeat and my doctor walked victoriously out of the room. 

So, my question remains; why are we scared to talk to our healthcare professionals? And when they ask if we have questions, do they actually want to hear them or is it rather a force of habit?

If you’ve ever found yourself in a room with an impersonal doctor, you aren’t the first person and you won’t be the last. The conversation regarding your own personal health doesn’t feel like an open-ended one and instead you may feel like decisions are being made for you instead of with you. 

So, the conversation (if you can call it that) clips on by and ten minutes later you’re charged $150 for someone to tell you that they know what’s best for you. 

Not to mention that it also feels extremely illegal to even question our healthcare providers. They have lost more accumulated hours of sleep than we will in our entire lives, grayed faster than anyone their same age and get paid an absurd amount of money to do so. Who are we to question some of the most upstanding citizens that are our healthcare providers? 

A lot of times success is intimidating. Especially when we see others more successful than ourselves. But success doesn’t mean that everything someone says, goes. As intimidating as success is, it should be viewed as an opportunity to learn from someone who has a specialty contrasting your own. It’s unfortunate that instead of using their knowledge as a tool, some doctors use it as something to hold over a patient’s head. Or so it feels sometimes. 

And as much as we may dislike going to the doctor, we depend on them. We depend on their diagnosis for the well being of ourselves and our loved ones. 

Many times what should be a shared decision between the clinician and the patient becomes a one-sided decision. This fear and intimidation can be described as “hostage bargaining syndrome” (HBS) according to Leonard Berry, a marketing professor from Mays Business School at Texas A&M. 

Berry and his three co-authors published a piece in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings titled “When Patients and Their Families Feel Like Hostages to Health Care,” where they further explain this phenomenon of succumbing to the pressure of healthcare providers rather than voicing our concerns. 

Although HBS is more common with more life-threatening, serious cases, it does not mean that regular patients can’t experience it as well. The only way to avoid this syndrome is by clinicians “appreciating, paradoxically, how patients’ perceptions of their power as experts play a central role in the care they provide.” (PubMed). 

It’s no fun to feel as though you don’t have a say in a matter that involves you, especially your health. When it comes to our health we want to be involved in every decision that goes into it. The involvement begins with the doctor. It’s crucial that patients feel they can ask questions and know what is going on. 

We love all of you for taking care of us, but sometimes we also want you to listen to us.

Sincerely, an intimidated teenage girl who still brings her mom to her doctor appointments.

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