Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Will They Follow?
John walked into my office years ago with a stack of papers under his arm. A few hundred pages to be more exact. He carried his copy of the medical history like a burden that was more a part of his body than a separate, distinct object. He pushed it forward onto my desk tentatively.
There was the usual minutia of any medical record: labs, injections, consult notes. It was a cat scan, buried under reams of repetitive nonsense, that caught my eye. The little smudge noticed by the radiologist was a nothing, a ditzel. But there was no followup. No further workup.
Originally John was alarmed, then scared. The biopsy showed a lethal malignancy if left untreated. I put my arm around his shoulder as he shook. A week later he underwent a successful surgery and was cured.
For years he walked in and out of my office on a regular basis. I was the doctor who saved his life, and he was my patient. In 2007, I announced that I was moving my practice thirty minutes to the north. Of all the people, I was shocked to find that John refused to follow. Without apology, he explained that he preferred someone closer.
My sense of professional worth dropped a notch that day.
Now, in 2013, I am again asking my patients to make a drastic change. Although I have had nothing but positive feedback, I can't help but feel a tad skittish.
I will stand alone, exposed, and make my pitch.
But will they follow?
Posted by Jordan Grumet at 6:03 PM