Difficult patients

I am often told that I have a lot of 'difficult patients', which is code for other doctors hate them. Sometimes, I agree with this assessment. Not all of my patients are the nicest people. However, it's also disappointing to know that a lot of folks I see are labeled as difficult because they want to be involved in their own care. And I think it's shameful that we discourage that.

I had a patient say to me last week something very nice: 'You're my favorite doctor because you always tell me things honestly and straightforward. I can trust you.'

It is a nice compliment to me, but such a sour turn on the profession. The default used to be that physicians deserved to be trusted, whether we deserved it or not. Now, a doctor is viewed as special because of such a basic piece of human interaction.