Doctors should listen to their patients emotions, too

Written By Carson Folio, Opinions Editor

Let me start this piece by stating that I admire those who work in the medical field and would not want to seem as though I am writing this out of anything other than disrespect.

 A recent experience I had at a local hospital concerned me – the staff focused entirely on something unrelated to why I visited. Stating that I went to the hospital may be a cause for concern on its own but trust that the issue was more of a major nuisance and not a serious problem. I visited because I needed an immediate diagnosis and solution to an ear pain I was experiencing.

I was given neither.

Already impatient because of how I mistakenly waited for over an hour in the waiting room of a MedExpress, the hope was that I would be in and out of the ER in about the same time it took for me to wait at MedExpress. After all, the problem should have been solved easily; my right ear just needed to be checked out. Instead, the staff seemed to be more interested in focusing on everything that was not what needed immediate attention. Now I do understand why hospital staff do this as every possibility needs to be ruled out and of course it is a huge liability issue to ‘ignore’ something.

But by the time I was already there for two hours with seemingly nothing done, I had had enough.

What upset me the most was their fixation on my heart rate. It was a bit fast, and I understand why that warranted attention. But the staff seemed to have completely forgotten that being at a hospital can be stressful; even more the case as a person who becomes anxious like myself. I already thought being on a heart rate monitor when I was there to get my ear examined was extreme, but their insistence on doing tests that did not matter in the slightest did not help my stress level nor my impatience.

While I eventually did get what I needed, the process took much longer than it should have. My problem was also not solved but that is not what upset me during this experience.

Instead, it was how they were convinced that being stressed at the emergency room is a problem with myself. While I applaud people who can stay totally calm at a hospital, I am not one of them and I wish the hospital staff could have accepted this. It is not as though they were unaware of this either; I stated it multiple times. I could just be unlucky, but I have noticed a general lack of empathy for one’s emotions anytime I have visited a medical facility.

 How I was treated only made me want to see doctors even less than before which is a problem far worse than what I went to the hospital for. The cost of healthcare in the U.S is prohibitive which already is a potential roadblock to getting people the care they need. Doctors that discard their patients’ emotions and refuse to listen to what they want is yet another roadblock. Both need to be addressed.

Thankfully, the problem with my ear ended up solving itself. And while I have had numerous bad experiences with doctors and hospital staff, the same is not true for those working at the Student Health Center here at Point Park University. They have shown me a level of empathy that I have not found in traditional hospitals, and that is very much appreciated.