For patients, healthcare is about submitting.

Submitting claims, submitting our information those are at the beginning and end of each healthcare experience.

But it’s the submission required of patients between those administrative actions that is deeply damaging.

Patients are required to submit.

Sit here.

Stand here.

Lay down when asked.

Let them touch you, there is no real choice if you want to find out what’s wrong, if you want to get better.

Don’t say no.

Don’t speak up.

Don’t complain.

Do as your told.

Be compliant.

Cede control.

Don’t ask too many questions.

Don’t be difficult.

Don’t be demanding.

Try not to cry.

Try to maintain composure.

Don’t panic.

Let them do what they were trained to do.

They are supposed to know best. Don’t tell them you know something different.

Don’t sit up.

Squeeze here.

Push here.

Breathe now.

Explain yourself but stop talking when he talks.

This is the doctor’s room.  It’s the room patients have to submit.

To refuse to submit is to be labeled difficult and demanding.

To refuse means you get lectures: “how can I help you if you won’t let me?”

To refuse is to lose care.

To refuse is to see the frustration in the doctor’s eyes and know his frustration/anger/burnout is your fault at some level.

To refuse is to be the “bad” patient.

The consequences for refusing are often worse than the submission. And so patients submit. Patient submit and do whatever it takes to get through it.

Some bring a friend of family for support. Some rationalize the experience and go through it robotically, detached and scientific. Some speak up and get see the consequences. Others dissociate completely. Some go home and self harm.

Some end up never showing up at all. Because the submission brings up too much, too many memories, too much pain. Most doctors don’t understand that.

I can provide as many documents and research as I want about medical-informed trauma – but they believe they’re “just doing their job,” that’s how they were taught and there is no other way.

They  doing their job, they are retraumatizing me, retraumatizing patients who have been through too much already.

I try to submit. But there’s a cost, a deep, searing cost that cannot be taken back.

Submission lacks compassion.  Only compassion can truly heal.

Please don’t make me submit. Please have compassion.

One Response to Submitting

  1. Pippit says:

    Very insightful post. It’s scary just how brainwashed most doctors are by their own system, and now that most healthcare is corporate run the problem is compounded by the implied expectations for them to submit to the corporations they work for. This heaps even more expectations upon the patient to submit to both.

    I think corporations have ruined healthcare and damaged the doctor/patient relationship and the crux of the problem is that they’ve followed the business model of those companies that deal in selling inanimate objects.

    That model does not work with human service professions because human beings are not cars or electronic machines, or toasters. The body is more complex and individual than that and human beings as living beings have feelings requiring a level of respect that objects do not.

    In order to correct this problem doctors need to return to individualized care and stop piggybacking on corporations to save overhead, get straight in their own minds about who it is they’re working for, and remember that without patients they have no career, no livelihood.

    I see a trend in general in big corporations of market manipulation which is quite disgusting. Even at the grocery store a corporation stops making certain products that customers buy and love (for the convenience or savings for the manufacturer). They put out there what they want to give us and provide us “choices” that are not true choices that we want, but attempt to “train” us to acclimate to their wants instead of trying to please us (the customer).

    This model has been adopted by Big Healthcare as well and if they don’t start to reverse it now it will signal the system’s own destruction because in the end people will get sicker and thus need more escalated care (which these corporations don’t want to give), and then what are they going to do…kick all these people out to cut their losses?

    We who are chronically ill are rapidly becoming the majority and soon it will bite these conglomerates in the butt. They don’t care at the moment, but they will when they find it hurts their own bottom line, and doctors are no longer benefitting enough to stick around.

    I recently have been researching about the high rate of depression and suicide among doctors and this is getting worse because by working for these corporations they have sold their soul. Even as brainwashed as they are, somewhere in there is a conscience (in most of them) and even though many dissociate from it in order to work in that environment and live in a state of denial, they cannot escape these ethical dilemmas and that stress manifests in other ways whether they admit it or not.

    I continue to work to change laws that will provide patient protections both on state and federal levels, try to make inroads in the medical education system to change attitudes toward patients, and affect change in attitudes in those regulatory agencies that so readily accept substandard care and will keep working on it until the day I die.

    We patients, the ultimate stake-holders, have alot of valuable information; a perspective that cannot be denied, and we deserve an equal seat at the table in the planning for the system that is supposed to treat us.

    Keep reminding these doctors and those they work for that this is your body and nobody owns it but you. You nor any patient should have to leave their personal power and ownership at the door.

    Before I was kicked out of the system that targeted me I used to tell my GP that in the end he would have to live with the choices he makes and whose intersts he puts first, that it should always be the patient’s; that no amount of comfort was worth compromising the doctor/patient relationship.

    I think he himself was tormented by the daily compromises of his core principals he made in order to work for a corporation that could care less about patients, and in the end that was the real reason he terminated me. He knew he was doing me wrong (and he knew that I knew) just to maintain his job there, and it was killing him. He’d done some dishonest things in order to stay aligned and in their good graces and when I called him on it his conscience was too much for him to bear. It was easier for him to cut me loose than to admit that he was cowtowing to his employer and copping out and was too comfortable there to challenge the status quo.

    In his estimation they were where his bread was buttered because my insurance paid the corporation and he was paid indirectly by salary. This sort of arrangement muddies the water and confuses doctors as to whom they are really working for.

    When doctors work in private practice the payment is much more direct from patient to doctor, so the cause and effect relationship keeps it very clear whom the customer truly is.

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