The Cheerful Oncologist does it again, with this thought-provoking post, Beware of the Hateful Patient. Key excerpt:
[I] could not imagine that I would ever harbor animosity toward the very people I was devoting my career to. I was wrong. After many years in practice I understand completely what he meant. All doctors who hold themselves out to the public will acquire certain patients who annoy them or even master the art of driving them perfectly bonkers. Such patient behavior is always tolerable at first but soon it becomes tiresome and the temptation to lash back or become passive-aggressive grows. Soon our good judgment itself is at risk of being poisoned by the grudge festering within. Woe to those physicians who weaken and embrace the Dark Side! (Ahem - that's Star Wars talk). My old professor was right - doctors must always retain control of their emotions, especially with patients.
The comments are as interesting as the post, since several patients who fear they are hateful weigh in.
What's interesting is that you may not like the list of reasons CO gives that a patient might become hateful in a doctor's eyes. Reasons such as insistence on trying alternative therapies, or suffering from mental illness on top of whatever illness has the patient in the doctor's office. Bit whether you like the reasons or not they once again prove: doctors are only human.
At least he makes the point that it is the doctor's job to overcome his or her emotional response to such patients...not the patient's job to become a better patient.
Now, a good companion post to read is Flea's post: Did I Miss Again? I Think I Missed Again. Flea lost a patient (no, not the really bad death kind of losing, just the picked-up-and-found-another-doctor losing.) He feels bad. His commenters runs the range form saying "good riddance" to saying "probably because you suck." It's fascinating. And very human