Blog | Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Top 10 things I wish were said more often

Five things I wished I said more often to patients:
1. Look, it's near the end of the day and I'm stressed. Can you remind me to slow down and listen?
2. Just because I am a radical skeptic when it comes to the utility of many tests doesn't mean I don't care about your symptoms.
3. Put your cell phone away, please.
4. Tell me something about yourself that doesn't have anything to do with your illness.
5. What sort of person are you really, deep down?

Five more things I wished patients had said to me:
1. I really don't understand what you're saying.
2. I don't think you care about my problem.
3. I am glad you care about my problem, but I don't think we are seeing eye to eye about the solution.
4. Can't you just make the decision for me?
5. What?

Zackary Berger, MD, ACP Member, is a primary care doctor and general internist in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins. His research interests include doctor-patient communication, bioethics, and systematic reviews. He is also a poet, journalist and translator in Yiddish and English. This post originally appeared at his blog.