Yesterday I needed to see my doctor to get some forms filled out. I called his office to book an appointment and was told that there had been a cancellation and that if I could get right there I could get right in. Well, hopped in the ol' power chair and made my way down. Joe always comes along with me when I see the doctor, as I do when he has his appointments, so we chatted as we wandered down the street.
Once in, once done with the paperwork, the doctor asked if we'd like our flu shots. We agreed. He asked if a student doctor could come in and see how flu shots were given. We both want to advance the cause of medical science so we agreed.
It was interesting to hear my doctor give the training to this 'doctor in training'. He talked more about patient comfort than anything else. He explained why he used a new needle after drawing the flu shot stuff (remember I'm not a doctor and have no idea what that's called) out. "The act of puncturing the top slightly blunts the needle and makes it a bit more painful to give the shot. So, use a new needle."
Then he explained how he was "all about the research" and spoke to her about what the research said about using alcohol to wipe down the arm, and how it didn't really make any difference. "But," he said, "it makes the patients more comfortable because it's a routine they are familiar with and here patient comfort and patient anxiety is the greater concern."
It was great to see and hear this training. It was great that the idea that patients feel and that patients have expectations and that patient comfort matters. Often doctors get a bad rap, but I wonder if they were all trained to think about and care about the really basic needs of the HUMAN BEINGS who are their patients, they may be a little different.
We are very lucky to have such good medical care.
But really, luck shouldn't have anything to do with it!