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A doctor with bad bedside manner scolding a patient and caregiver.

Doctor Conversations That Go Awry

I’m sure many of you go with the flow in what is being mentioned and suggested. It has always been the culture that your doctors know it all, and who are we not to believe otherwise. I mean they spent all of those years in med school — right? Well sometimes, we run across a few physicians whose ethics are questionable, and when it comes to making decisions, circumstances now become cloudy because of questionable and unfortunate bedside manners.

How important is bedside manner?

I’m not sure where the phrase came from but it says a lot when dealing with our doctors who show their negative bedside manner. Merriam Webster defines bedside manner is as the manner a doctor assumes towards patients.

So what happens when you have a painful experience with your doctor? I mean at this stage you’re depending on these men and women to direct you towards the best care, yet first impressions leave a stain if the experience is not what was expected.

My mom’s experience with her doctor

When it comes to my mom’s story some of the experiences are cloudy for the exact playback. However, I do remember a lot. I remember getting a call from my mom (we’d speak 2-3 times a day). She was upset and angry about how her doctor was so nasty to her. I’m in my office getting hot and angry about what I was hearing on the other end of the phone. I’m sitting there thinking, “How dare this person disrespect my mother!”

After trying to calm down as I can get emotional and turn up to 10 real quick when my family or friends are hurting, I asked my mom, “So, Mommy what happened”? My mom told me how the doctor was speaking to her, a 63-year-old woman, like she was 10 years old, and it seemed like he had an issue when she asked valid questions about her care. I’m sure many can relate, feeling less than when a simple question is raised, as some in this profession want you to do rather inquire.

Well, that’s not how we do it…for her next appointment, I left my office early to accompany my mother, and to my dismay she was correct. I didn’t doubt her but wanted to see first-hand. Her doctor was a nightmare!! He got indignant with me as well and was gruff with both of us when I addressed his tone. I know things are hazy, but I can remember at a point my mom grabbed my arm when he left the room and said, “Baby let it go” as she didn’t want any issues since he would still need to treat her. Imagine, so afraid now that this person may actually do something sinister to you??

The end result was she got a different doctor, as well as a written complaint by me to his superiors…so interesting how I recalled some of this that was blocked in my memory.

So now what?

If you have had a similar experience, what do you do now? Here are some ways to go about it in a professional and tactful manner:

Too tired to be bothered

I know you’re probably tired physically and emotionally and don’t want to be frazzled by conversations that you may have taken out of context. So if the doctor refers you to try something that is questionable, do you go with what they suggest? Well, all I can say here is, if you are okay playing the roulette game, that’s your decision and unfortunate.

If there’s anyone who should feel that their life is the most precious and worth fighting for it should be you. If the fight is in you but you can’t physically and emotionally check what’s going on with your doctor, then reach out to a friend or family member to ask these pertinent questions for you. It’s not acceptable for any doctor to not take your concerns to heart. It’s not okay when our doctors go awry.

The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile…when you feel like it

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • evcosports
    2 months ago

    my wife was a 45 year ICU RN… at the end she was admitted to he own unit in a very aggressive state, what she would classify as a Patient hell… her RN co-worker was trying to ease her pain and get her conferable. A female doctor walked in did the old 30 sec check in and demanded the RN sign these papers right away, The RN was at the time struggling with my aggressive and in pain wife. the RN told her in a second , and continued her work. Once finished she signed the papers walked out of the ICU room and Blasted the MD with everything she had… NEVER HAVE I SEEN A MD ,WHO KNEW MY WIFE, TREAT A PATIENT AND RN GIVING CARE WITH SUCH DISREGARD.. I told her is the fool MD reports you Give them MY name.. 10 days latter this RN sat with me as my wife took her last moments on earth…

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator author
    2 months ago

    I’m so sorry you and your wife had to go through this situation and to this degree. Please also accept my condolences. In no way shape or form should that form of disregard have taken place. I’m happy the RN (who usually are better in decorum then some of the MD’s) put this doctor in check and stayed with you during this ordeal.

  • Alisa moderator
    2 months ago

    Hi @evcosports, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your wife and the insensitive treatment of the doctor making it that much more challenging. It sounds like you had a very caring RN though. I wish all medical professionals were compassionate … it is hard enough dealing with an illness. Warmly, Alisa, Team

  • MotherT
    11 months ago

    My first doctor was a family friend and I’ll always be grateful he was there at the start. When he moved away I got the next best doctor on staff. (According to opinion s) I ended up in the hospital with pneumonia and near neutropenic blood values because she didn’t think I needed to be seen or labs done. When confronted with “why did this happen?” She was defensive and just didn’t understand her part in the situation. Her solution was to stop all treatment if it was too difficult for me. She actually said, “I know that would be a difficult decision” I guess she thought that was good bedside talk. At the time I had little choice. The only other doctors were travelers and I wanted that continuity with one doctor. Long story short, the one traveler I liked decided to stay in our area and I very vocally requested her services. She has been everything I could want in an oncologist. She fights for me, she checks and double checks everything to do with my cancer and she’s not afraid to listen to me and think outside the box. No one should settle for poor quality care! Those were months of added stress while waiting for a solution. Speak up ,and start searching as soon as you are uncomfortable with a doctor, OR nurse. Think about a back up plan for the unexpected. Wishing everyone the best!

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator author
    11 months ago

    I’m so sorry you experienced this; I see my mom wasn’t the only one dealing with horrid doctors. What I’ve found is that not every job is for every person. When dealing in such a sensitive and unique relationship that requires science as well as social skills, well you have to have social skills, and many don’t have it nor don’t get it. Any inkling of an attitude or if the spirit within you is telling you this conversation sounds off- means to bounce to someone that is a better fit. I’m happy you kept it and found your fit. Best!

  • Lisa Moran moderator
    11 months ago

    People need to realize doctors are sometimes friendly, but they are not our friends. You can fire a doctor for any reason, at any time.
    I’ve fired two in the last four years due to poor communication and horrible bedside manner.

  • Lisa Moran moderator
    11 months ago

    One of my first doctors set the bar high on beef side manner. Every doctor since is compared to him.

    People need to realize doctors are not our friends. You can fire a doctor at any time. I have personally fired two doctors in the last 4 years due to poor communication and horrible bed side manner.

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator author
    11 months ago

    It’s a slippery slope in the patient-doctor world; If anything respect factors in on how the relationship is going to play itself out. Hoping you found that doctor holds close to your first positive experience.

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