Odd things you notice

At the CHUV in Lausanne there are pamphlets at every reception desk entitled “Le patient informé” (The informed patient). Apparently this worrying development has reached such proportions that even the hospital’s PR department has noticed it, hence the published flyer.

Instead of displaying these flyers where patients congregate, may I suggest tattooing them onto the skin of every medical practitioner at the hospital, until such time as the message has sunk in?

After generations of patients who went before doctors and surgeons like lambs to the slaughter, unknowing and not invited to know (more likely to be verbally punished for asking tricky questions or commenting on embarrassing truths) the medical profession is now pretending to itself that patients with an active interest in their own health and fitness are a Good Thing. For the time being, however, this initiative is only (yet another) marketing lie.

In the face of someone who really does take an active interest in her health, and lives accordingly to the best of her ability, the medical professionals fall back on their decades-long training: dodge the questions, answer questions that were not asked, but that they at least feel comfortable answering, and accuse the patient of asking for unreasonable assurances (because attack is always the best means of defence!). If you don’t allow yourself to be beaten down, you are branded as “difficult” at best, a troublemaker at worst, or the choice of predilection for any female supplicant who does not show the requisite awe and docility: you must be a hysteric, a depressive, a [fill in your mental health insult here].

Please note that female doctors and nurses are as guilty of these old habits as the men. They’ve all been formatted, trained, indoctrinated.

A simple pamphlet about how great it is to have a patient who is a) reasonably intelligent and b) committed to their own well-being has not changed anything.

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