Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Very Good Rule

In another online forum for FP's, discussion often rages about how far to go for our patients, at what point they are taking advantage of us, and how to set the line between the two. Dr. G says it best:
A colonel I respected more than many other leaders I've served under made his expectations known in a clear, succinct manner. The members of his squadron were given the following instructions more than once:

"Though I expect you all to bend over backward to help a patient, I do not expect you to bend forward for them."

There's a fine line between delivering good customer service and being taken advantage of. My rule of thumb is the minute I feel that I'm doing more forward flexion than lumbar extension, I've gone too far the wrong way and it's time to redefine my expectations with the patient.
When I asked for permission to quote his wonderful writing, Dr. G did point out, "I'm glad you appreciate my writing; I think the colonel did the bulk of the work creating a catchy, memorable rule."

True, Dr. G. But thank you for sharing it.


At Mon Dec 04, 04:00:00 PM, Blogger Sid Schwab said...

Bending forwards. Rule of thumb. Heh.

I realize it's not exactly the gist of your post, but this puts me in mind of a (hopefully true) story one of my fellow military docs told me (for only in the military might you conceivably try such a thing:)

In doing prostate exams, the story goes, this doc would have the patient lean forward onto the exam table, and insert his finger while standing. For certain selected patients, he'd have a medic hidden behind a screen. He'd place his left hand on the patient's left shoulder, insert his right index finger in the anus, and then the medic, who'd have slipped quietly into the room, would place HIS right hand on the patient's right shoulder....

At Mon Dec 04, 05:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re Sid's comment: ewwwwwww!

About the rest--I don't think anyone should have to bend "forward" for a patient, client, customer, etc. I remember joking after a technology conversion at my former job that we had all far too many palm-prints on our desktops . . . Backwards, yet, forward . . . no thanks.

At Mon Dec 04, 05:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant to say "yes" not "yet" . . . can't type today

At Mon Dec 04, 11:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dropping in for a quick visit ... and I've got to say that I'm still gasping for air after reading Dr. Schwab's comment. >;o)

I can't wait for this course to be done so that I can get blogging in earnest again! Miss you!

At Tue Dec 05, 02:55:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Euuuugh - SS.

Excellent story, Dinosaur. Surely this is the 11th law!

Would it be too much faffing to post a link to those of the laws that have evolved from your postings and comments? It's great to watch their tentative beginnings to the status of fully-fledged laws.

Regards - Shinga

At Tue Dec 05, 10:14:00 PM, Blogger #1 Dinosaur said...

Military story is very old and almost certainly apocryphal (sp?) Chill out, all you latent homophobes.

Sorry, Shinga; most of the Laws were either old sayings, or made up on the spot. ie, not really worth linking.

At Wed Dec 06, 08:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh come on don't be so modest-they are good laws, a couple right up there with.....darn now what was the name of that book that we had to read in med school? Was it St. Elsewhere or was that the name of the TV show based on the book? Now I am straining my brain. Love your posts!

At Wed Dec 06, 09:18:00 PM, Blogger #1 Dinosaur said...

Cathleen: The book was House of God; the TV show was St. Elsewhere; don't think it was based on it, though.

House of God is the bible. The Dino laws are an obvious rip-off that I can only hope have a clever, modern-day twist.

I still remember the first 2 Laws of the House of God:

1. Gomers don't die.
2. Gomers to to ground.

Other random ones:
* Age + BUN = Lasix dose
* There is no body cavity that can't be reached with a #14 needle and a strong push.

Glad you're enjoying the blog.


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