Unfortunately, many people have had an extremely negative patient experience. Many people have had multiple bad experiences- times they had to listen to doctors say things that were dismissive or insulting (“it’s all in your head,” “you just need to lose weight,”); were actually physically harmed; or were just generally treated badly. Sometimes it’s bad luck and you have a provider who seems to think patients are a huge inconvenience to the practice of medicine; sometimes an otherwise great doctor or nurse doesn’t realize how what they say affects you, or that their choice of words is so important.
A bad patient experience can be extremely isolating. We believe it is important to share and validate these experiences so people can see they’re not alone. It’s very easy to get hurt on the losing side of the patient-provider power dynamic, but it shouldn’t be a battle to start with. Sharing our stories helps us, but it’s also an important step toward raising awareness and creating change in the medical system.
If you have a patient experience you’re willing to share, please tell us about it via this survey! You can indicate what level of anonymity you’re comfortable with, and how you’re comfortable with us using your story. Some stories may end up in a Buzzfeed article about the worst things doctors say to women, others will be used by us as we write about how medical education can help develop healthy patient-provider relationships.
So tell us: what’s the worst thing a doctor has said to you?