Friday, August 1, 2014

Patient Dignity 09: Patient's Point of View

I have had some negative feedback from some providers who just don't get it. I also get the Machiavellian excuse "we are saving lives." Can you not save lives without dignity (I mean the patient's dignity, not yours)?

When I learned to do couples counseling, I learned a valuable insight that has applied to any situation when people describe what happened:
"There his version of the story, there her version of the story, and there is what really happened."

Take the 2008 movie "Vantage Point:"
Seen from seven different perspectives, the President of the United States - who's really a body double of the prez - is shot during a speech in Madrid, while the real President (in a nearby hotel) is kidnapped by terrorists. 
I have learned that each person interprets the same situation differently. Even if a provider (physician, nurses, etc.) claim that they had been patients, their point of view is still different than the patient who has never worked as a healthcare provider.

Mark Twain says that once he became a river boat captain, he could never look at the river the same way he had looked at it as a child.
The vision we get of the river in "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn" was gone. The innocence was gone. There was beauty, but it was a different kind of beauty. As a river boat captain, he was looking for snags and deadheads, and learned to "read" the river in a different way. 

Let's take the issue of patient modesty in the emergency department:

Here is what really happens:

This is what the patient sees:

This is what the physicians and nurses see:

It is wrong for a healthcare provider to assume that the patient experiences no trauma from having their dignity compromised. Patients walk of a hospital having their physical body healed but feeling like their  psyche has just been run over by a truck.

The following illustrates the fallacy of a healthcare provider denying a patient's feelings about having their body exposed when the healthcare provider is the one wearing the clothes:

Are you thinking yet? 
Are you feeling yet? 
Are you empathizing yet?

1 comment:

  1. In the trauma picture you see a male who is uncovered. Female trauma patients
    are always covered, the males are not.


Those visitors who want to remain anonymous should nevertheless end their comment with some consistent pseudonym or initials. This is important in order to provide readers a reference to who wrote what and to maintain continuity in the discussions. Thank you. ..Maurice.
NOTE: BLOGGER only allows comments to be 4096 characters (NOT WORDS) or less.