Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How is a Doctor's Office Different from a Torture Chamber?

This is a legitimate question: How is a doctor's office different from a torture chamber?
The last time I went to my rehab doc's office, he told me to get on his examining table and proceeded to pound on my shins with a mallet. He did not explain what he was going to do, or why. He did not ask my permission. He did not state at any time how this would benefit me. When I told him it hurt, he just said, "I'm examining you." I may be mistaken, but I think my rehab doc has the strength not just to hurt me by pounding on my shins with a mallet. I think he's strong enough to break my bones. So I didn't want to get him upset while he was doing his pounding. That kind of fear is at the core of torture.
Afterwards he said he was testing my reflexes. I never complained about my reflexes. He never said why he wanted to test them. He never told me what he learned by pounding on me. This is common doctor behavior. Get on the table, get hurt, no explanations. We do it because we want something -- in my case physical therapy, or in earlier years birth control. It seems to be an unspoken bargain -- they get to torture you and then maybe they'll do what you want. I guess that's the difference -- in a true torture chamber, the torturer will never do what you want.
If we are to become full partners in our own health care, we deserve more information and more choices in how we are treated in a doctor's office. In future, I'm not getting on that table without a full explanation of what will happen and why. And I'm going to veto anything I don't want.

No comments:

Post a Comment