I felt my ire rise when I read this article on CNN about how patients are giving their doctors headaches. Apparently, this video entitled “The Patient Who Knows Too Much”, which is part of a training program aimed at doctors to help them deal with “difficult patients,” has caused quite a stir.
Elizabeth Cohen, my friend and Senior Medical Correspondent at CNN writes about a fictitious patient named “Will,” who is represented by a nerdy looking avatar holding a laptop computer, peppering his doctor with questions and information he has learned online about his disease. She writes:
In the presentation, three doctors comment on the challenges Will poses.
“They consider themselves an expert yet often their true medical knowledge is quite limited,” says Dr. Joseph Scherger, vice president for primary care at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California, who says patients like Will are “indiscriminate” about the material they read online.
“Patients who present their expertise as telling you how to practice medicine are implicitly discounting your expertise,” adds Leonard Haas, a psychologist at University of Utah School of Medicine.
“Sometimes these patients are very overweight. They’re out of shape,” Scherger adds. “They’re on the Internet all the time.”
When I read this, my blood started to boil and I had to do a little loving kindness meditation aimed at doctors to calm myself down. So I’m about to rant, but hopefully I’ll be more loving than I would have been a few minutes ago.
You’ve been properly warned.