Patient as Googler

This story seems almost unbelievable to me, but I am sure it is true.  Time Magazine published this story “When the Patient is a Googler” on November 8th.

It is basically a physician’s perspective on an aggressive patient that uses the Internet to find out lots of information about him.  The patient treats the physician with total disregard (which is unacceptable in any situation).  The physician on the other hand rants about patients and doesn’t grab control of the situation but simply “punts” her to another doctor.

“A seasoned doc gets good at sizing up what kind of patient he’s got and how to adjust his communicative style accordingly. Some patients are non-compliant Bozos who won’t read anything longer than a headline. They don’t want to know what’s wrong with them, they don’t know what medicines they’re taking, they don’t even seem to care what kind of operation you’re planning to do on them. “Just get me better, doc,” is all they say.

At the other end of our spectrum are patients like Susan: They’re often suspicious and distrustful, their pressured sentences burst with misused, mispronounced words and half-baked ideas. Unfortunately, both types of patients get sick with roughly the same frequency.”

In my opinion, they are both wrong.  Patients should certainly do their research before and after meeting with a physician.  They also need to give the physician a chance to use their training and experience to help the patient.  Physicians need to be open to patients doing research and asking questions.  They should be willing to suggest sites to patients for research.  This is not a subject that will go away.

There are several other discussion streams out there about this article if interested:

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