Friday, January 15, 2010

Close to Home

Special treat tonight. Psych Doc times 2.

Had a really unique scenario in clinic yesterday. Was looking at my afternoon schedule and I recognized a name that I know from long ago. I saw this guy's name and it was associated to a memory of his face and some relation to my life 15-20 years ago. I check in the waiting room and it's the same guy I pictured. I think I probably played ball against him in high school or something. Very weird cuz my residency is 350 miles from where I grew up.

I spoke to the nurse and she agreed to let another physician treat him.

I am interested to hear from other health care professionals, including nurses, doctors, and others. Have you ever treated a patient that you know (even very superficially) from an external environment? In psych, avoiding this scenario is pretty standard, due to countertransference/confidentiality issues, etc. But I wonder how others handle it.

Political sidenote. Usually my colleague is more vocal than I. But I gotta say something about Rush Limbaugh. He said we shouldn't donate to Haiti relief because 1) the contributions will probably be filtered through and used by the democratic party and 2) Obama is only supporting Haiti in order to unite light skinned with dark skinned blacks. Also, Pat Robertson says that Haiti is being punished because they made a deal with the devil. Look, I am a simple, very white Christian redneck, and these are some of the most offensive things I have ever heard. What is America supposed to do? Nothing?

Sports sidenote. I love the NBA. Former season ticket holder for 2 years (team to remain un-named). I love guns (owned them more than 20 years.) That said, what are you thinking, Gilbert Arenas? If a normal, non-NBA person brought a gun to the stadium, they would be screwed. If you want to keep them away from your kids, buy a safe. Don't take them to work. Just dumb.
Peace and Love, people.
-Psych Doc


Chrysalis Angel said...

We must do what we can to lend aid.

When I heard of Robertson's statement, I was disgusted!

He's forgotten a critical part of being a Christian. We are not to judge. (We don't hold the rights to that authority.) We are to help our fellow man. These people need all the help they can get.

I hope you won't mind if I put the following correspondence up from the PIH. If you do, feel free to delete my comment.

For those of you who can spare the time, PIH is looking for help.

Wanted: Surgeons, nurses, and other medical personnel to help in Haiti

We are deeply grateful for the multitude of people who have contacted us wanting
to provide medical assistance. As patients flood to our sites from
Port-au-Prince, we're finding ourselves in need of both medical personnel and
supplies. In particular, we need surgeons (especially trauma/orthopedic
surgeons), ER doctors and nurses, and full surgical teams (including
anesthesiologists, scrub and post-op nurses, and nurse anesthetists).

If you are a health professional interested in volunteering, please send an
email to with information on your credentials, language
capabilities (Haitian Creole or French desired), availability, and contact

Anonymous said...

What was really said:
If you send your relief dollars through the US government, about 30 cents on the dollar will actually go for aid to the people who need it whereas if you donate to a church the money will go directly to Haiti. Do you want you donations to go to an incompetent bureaucracy or do you want them to go to Haiti? You choose. How efficiently has the government spent your money in the past?

Direct Quote: "Nobody in their right mind would ever believe that about me or anybody else, for that matter. However, I did say find some way to do it other than giving it to Obama, 'cause I know he's going to eliminate the charitable deduction. He wants to wipe out individual charitable giving. He wants the government to be the go-to person for all charities. That's the only reason you wipe out the deduction for charitable contributions. "

HugeMD said...

Hey, PsychDoc. Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot. Hooked on Vics and Percs. And would be coming to my urgent care lying his a$$ off to get them if he could, I'm sure. I can't listen to that man for more than 1 millisecond without wishing I had some Ativan, though I've never taken Ativan.

The issue of relatives, friends, acquaintances is hard. Obviously in psych it's even harder. I did primary care very near my home town. There was no way to NOT see patients I knew. I told relatives to stay away--sometimes had to repeat myself.

I saw many friends--delivered their babies, all kinds of things. It was when a high school friend came in with a breast mass I pretty much knew was cancer that I decided life was too short and found a more sane job.

Close friends were tougher. Family friends whose wedding I was in when I was five insisted on seeing me. She tends to be rude and demanding as a patient--I've seen her do it to other docs many times. He has many medical problems and I think he's one of the greatest guys in he world. I just couldn't take it when, on several occasions, he tried to die on my watch.

She just kept making appointments with me and disregarding my pleas for them to see other doctors. I eventually had to get very firm about it. My relationship with them, her at least, is not the same now.

Avoid seeing people you know like the plague, maybe unless they're just distanct acquaintances. It's just easier that way. Staying away from your home town would be a good way to be able to do that. Now I'm 90 miles from there and virtually never run across anyone I know at work.

Best of luck. I still kind of think about being a psychdoc myself--great specialty!

Anonymous said...

Most days I find it best not to discuss politics, however I strongly disagree with what they have said. As far as treating people it varies depending on which department I am scheduled to work. Unfortunately, our psych unit is small and I get stuck with with enough crazy to fill ten blogs. Crazy as in people believing they are animals and crawling down the hallway growling. Good times, Good times. lol

Anonymous said...

I am also a Christian who is absolutely disgusted by Pat Robertson. It infuriates me that this is the Christian that gets press coverage, and that he is who people think of as "Christians". I actually did several short term missions to Haiti from about 1998-2002, and the living situations in the best of times were horrific. It is such a horrible tragedy.

Anonymous said...

I've tried to find verification of the comments by Rush because I agree, that they would be very wrong.

But I haven't seen these reproduced anywhere.

Perhaps you could followup with a link to the audio so we can hear it in his voice.

Otherwise, it looks like you might've gotten suckered into to some email chain that is spreading falsehoods.

Trust us....we're doctors said...

I'm not technologically advanced enough to even know where to look for an audio clip of it. Here is a news link.

Psych Doc

Helen said...

I grew up in a small town, where my GPs were my grandfather and then, when he retired, my uncle. They were the only two doctors, so we had no other options. My Dad had his appendix removed by his own brother.

Trust me, it's awkward for the patients too. I avoided going in to see them as much as possible, and found new doctors as soon as I moved to go to school.

Anonymous said...

I practiced for years in a small town where I was the only specialist in my field. It was impossible not to treat, operate on, etc, people I knew. If I had turned all those people away, I'd have had no practice and they would have had to travel 60 miles to see a colleague.

Anonymous said...

I've been treated by colleagues. I am an intern and ended up in my own emergency department with dehydration. Was taken care of by an off-service rotator and one of my attendings, later by an EM PA. It was no big deal, although I could tell my fellow intern was a bit embarrassed when he had to ask if I might be pregnant.

Anonymous said...

Happens every day for me, I'm the only pharmacist in a small town. Sometimes there's an unspoken agreement that we'll both just forget that we saw the other, and always I go by the rule, "Never ask about that rash"...or whatever, in public. Some people have no boundaries, though, and I wind up getting asked some really wild questions at the coffee shop, and the bar. I did get mildly embarrassed the other night when someone asked me, "Omigawd, you drink??" when I was getting beer at the liquor store. But mostly it's not too bad. So far. I'll give you an update in 10 years.

Dana said...

I have no medical training, except for CPR and First Aid. When I was trying to get my medication correct for my depression and anxiety, I had to see a psychiatrist. Her sister, who was also her receptionist, was one of my MIL's friends. In fact, I knew her sister and liked her. My MIL only knew the doctor as an acquaintance.

My doctor asked me if I had a problem with the sister, I did ask if she would be aware of what we talked about and just how much info she would have access to. I was assured only what was absolutely necessary in the course of her job. I also questioned their confidentiality policy because I was afraid of the sister telling my MIL things that I didn't want her to know. Of course, I was assured that my confidentiality was of the utmost importance.

I decided that I didn't have a problem with this. I eventually got on the right meds. I actually enjoyed seeing the sister at each appointment. It helped me with the process because it was a familiar, friendly face greeting me each time.

I am not sure if the patient's side of things helps you at all.