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Berated While Bleeding: A Doctor’s Intimate Share

Your doctor sacrifices a lot for you, but they are human and struggling, too.

In between having my 2nd and 3rd children, I miscarried twins at 11 weeks and 4 days along. It was soul-crushing.

But I only took 3 days off.

It was too hard to reschedule my patients. There was no where to put them.

It is stressful to cancel days. It is disruptive to people’s lives.

People who took time off work. People who secured babysitters to come. People who are in pain and have needs.

Prior to my miscarriage, in 7 years as an attending, I had NEVER taken a sick day.

 

While many patients were understanding, many expressed frustration at the inconvenience of being rescheduled.

One in particular was a 60-something female.

Retired. Healthy. No concerns. On no medications. Scheduled for an annual wellness visit.

 

She threw a fit when they called to reschedule.

She yelled and screamed on the phone.

She refused to see another provider.

She refused to wait 3 weeks to see me.

She demanded to be “worked in” sooner.

She hung up, with a plan to wait to hear back.

 

 

But then, the following day, she showed up for her originally scheduled appointment, knowing it was canceled.

She yelled at the staff about how I’m “the worst”.

 

Prior to my miscarriage, in 7 years as an attending, I had NEVER taken a sick day.

 

The office manager brought her into a private office and informed this patient the details of why I had canceled 3 days of my clinic that week. That I was at home, losing a very much wanted pregnancy.

Her reply, “I’m not sure why you think I need to know that. All I need to know is that my appointment was moved and I’m not happy about that”.

 

The patient showed up for her originally scheduled appointment, knowing it was canceled. She yelled at the staff about how I'm 'the worst'. (a doctor's account of taking 3 days off for a devastating miscarriage) Click To Tweet

 

 

I work for a large institution.  I have very little say over which patients I see/can refuse to see.

That day the manager gave her a grocery store gift card for her inconvenience and promised to “talk to me about working her in”.

When I returned to work, still bleeding and cramping and devastated, she apologetically explained the situation to me, and encouraged me to consider staying late to add this patient on at the end of my day.

While I did not stay late that day, I did have to continue to provide good, unbiased, care to her – despite her behavior and total disregard for me as a human being in one of my lowest moments – for another 5 years until I just recently had cause to dismiss her from my care.

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