Doctors are revered. On a scale of 1 to 10, with God as number one, the need for a doctor is second. When a person is unwell, the family members will be wailing in hopelessness, but the minute the doctor arrives, the relief is palpable with most assuming that relief is coming.
A doctor instills confidence in people and some of us get trapped in a web of blind faith thinking that doctors can do no wrong. This can be explained by the fact that sometimes when a person is taken to the hospital on their deathbed, doctors do their magic and the patient goes home fit as a fiddle. Like I said before, the only other person who can achieve such feats is God.
Sometimes when you need a service from someone and that someone knows that you truly need them and you have no choice, they are bound to make you pay for that need.
It is for this reason that some doctors let it go to their head and start to believe and behave like they truly are God. What they tend to forget is that if they were, diseases would not afflict them. So what are the 15 things that doctors did in the 90s that would no longer be acceptable today?
15 No Care Without The Right Papers
We have all been through this one, we go in to see the doctor over something we were quite sure would kill us last night, but the minute we get to the waiting room, no one seems to be in a hurry to address our ‘emergency.’ Instead, we are given a fourteen page questionnaire to fill in with our insurance details and life history.
We meticulously fill out the form thinking that the information we give in there is what the doctor will use to give us that groundbreaking prescription. However, the minute we get into the doctor's room, all the questions we answered on the form are repeated again. This can be emotionally overwhelming for the patient or the caregiver. According to MD Christine Meyer, it's one of those awkward things doctors just do. She does, however, reiterate that she likes to hold a conversation and watch the patients face as she answers her questions.
In the 90s, doctors like these were plenty. No treatment until one completes the form was a hospital policy, probably to ensure that the patient has their insurance up-to-date and that it would not backfire after they have treated him. At least these days, the length of the forms has gotten shorter and at most, it is a one-page document. The good news is that nowadays, the information you provided will always serve as a background and you need not keep filling out the forms.
14 Shaving Your Downstairs Was A Must
For those of us who had our babies in the 90s, shaving of the pubic hair was a must. This was done crudely with a razor that felt like a blunt hunting knife. Along with the humiliation of everyone looking at your nether regions, a woman had to undergo this additional shame of someone else shaving her pubic hair off.
Like every other procedure, the woman had no say and this is when most women started shaving at home to at least reduce the humiliation of the unnecessary procedure. According to Today’s Parent, these days there are posters in doctors’ offices warning mothers-to-be of shaving their pubic hair when they are beyond 36 weeks.
There is research that shows that shaving for women who end up with a C-section possess a risk of increased infection. The nicks and cuts that a woman gets during this time can take in bacteria that may turn out hard to heal. In the 90s, the doctors acted like the ‘bush' obstructed their view or something and it was generally believed to harbor tons of bacteria. While it is good practice to shave and keep things manageable, the slashing of hair that these doctors did was truly unnecessary.
13 Snipping Without Consent
Doctors in the 90s were in control once a woman landed in the labor room.
Things here were done in a sterile environment with no creature comforts to be found, and with military-style precision. You did as you were told without questions. It was ‘put your legs up and don’t push until I tell you to’ and then snip, snip, snip.
No one wanted to know, and women were discouraged to ask whether the snip was necessary and how it would affect them. What the doctors were taught in school went and the phrase ‘doctors orders’ was law. The necessity of an episiotomy was not questioned.
According to Belly Belly, evidence indicates that routine episiotomies are really unnecessary and not beneficial. The body is made in a way that it knows what to do when it is time to give birth. It was long believed that an episiotomy cut would heal better because it had straight edges that could easily be sewn together. However, new information shows that it appears that even the tears that occur during natural birth are best, as they heal better and faster than an episiotomy. Unless it is truly medically necessary, an episiotomy is a transgression on a woman’s body.
12 The 'No Touching' Rule
A patient goes into the ER to see the doctor who is seated on the other side of the desk. She explains that she has this lump in her breast that is worrying her. She goes on to tell the doctor that it has been there for the past two weeks and it seems to be growing larger.
The nonchalant doctor who appears to be playing Candy Crush on his desktop takes out his prescription pad and prescribes some ointment to bring down the swelling or some pills to clear bacteria from the patient's body and on the pad he jots some big words. He does not leave his cushy chair, look at the said swelling and neither does he touch it.
After a few months, the patient goes to another hospital and is diagnosed with breast cancer but for something that could have been arrested six months ago it is now unfortunately in stage four and the woman is given a month to live. This was common practice in the 90s, but these days, a physical exam is mandatory for any doctors appointment. A doctor’s touch is necessary during a physical exam and a no-touch doctor should not be condoned.
11 Disrespecting A Patient’s Wishes
Most patients are aware of what they need and how they would prefer to be handled or the medical interventions they require. In the 90s, access to information was rather limited and most people did not know what they needed, nor were they aware of the side effects of some medical procedures or medications. With the booming of the information age, diagnosis is at a patient’s fingertips by use of doctor google and many other medical sites out there.
A mother who has no idea about what to do can easily read about the benefits of delayed cord clamping by googling it. This wish would not even have been considered in the 90s. Today one can give explicit instructions regarding on their own healthcare or their wishes.
A pregnant woman can state in her birth plan and inform her doctor that she wants delayed cord clamping.
If her wish is disregarded, the doctor can find themselves in hot water being sued.
Doctor’s orders were the law in the 90s and no one could win a lawsuit against doctors as they were seen to be the paramount authority on what is right or wrong when it came to making decisions for a patient.
10 Not Providing Complete Information About Medication
On a day when one visits the doctor's office with flu-like symptoms and feeling like death, what one requires is relief. The rushed doctor hurriedly prescribes medication to the patient who happens to be one month pregnant. The patient goes home, takes the medicine and unfortunately loses the baby. On another occasion, the doctor gives medication that is potentially harmful to the fetus and is likely to contribute to baby birth defects. With all of these prescriptions, the patient was not made aware of the side effects of the medications and is caught unawares.
The doctor assumed all they needed to do was write a prescription and the patient had no option than to follow. It was believed that the doctor knew all there is to know about all the medications available and they would cause no harm to a patient.
It was never considered that the patient would not want to take a certain medication if they knew the side effects there might be. Doctors never considered it. These days, doctors are obliged to disclose what medication they are giving and what the side effects of said medication are. According to Journals, a change in attitude is necessary when it comes to full disclosure.
9 Not Fully Explaining “Doctor Speak”
This is when you go into a hospital with a rumbling stomach and the doctor prescribes medication for borborygmi. One look at the prescription form and anyone would be alarmed because they suddenly have the diagnosis of this terrible sounding disease. ‘I only have a rumbling stomach, what is this big disease?’
That is what doctors do sometimes; use clinical names for mundane illnesses and leave one in shock, fully convinced they are dying. In the 90s, computers weren’t as widespread as they are now and Google didn’t come into the picture until 1998. Today, a person can easily look up borborygmi and learn that it is simply the technical term for a rumbling tummy. When some of these things were fairly new, being told one needs a cervical biopsy was enough to leave a woman in crisis mode.
Unfortunately, while this is a simple procedure, doctors in the 90s did not bother to explain or even tell a woman why she needs it and what it entails.
Alternatives were never considered as the woman was not even given the option to consider them. These days, that doesn’t fly. The modern woman will demand an explanation and a step by step graphic illustration of what the doctor plans to do.
8 Doctors Kept You Waiting A Whole Day
So a child is sick and the parents are frantic. The only respite for the mother is to rush to a doctor’s office. On arrival, the ‘doctor is in’ tag is on the door but he is busy, not with a patient, but just locked in his office probably doing something non-doctor related. Even when one has an appointment, it truly is a rarity that you will actually be seen at that time. Even when a doctor is very busy rushing from one patient to the next, it can be extremely aggravating to sometimes wait an hour or more to see the doctor.
If one thinks this is disrespectful, in the 90s, doctors could keep you waiting the whole day and during that time, patients had no rights and ‘my office, my rules’ was a real thing. If a patient had issues with waiting then she had the right to leave and take her business elsewhere. Having your name on a list did not necessarily mean you were next to be seen by the doctor. If someone more affluent, prominent or well known happened to come in, they could easily dislodge you and you would be seen when it was more convenient for the doctor.
7 Rushing The Pap Smear
Before some of us go into the doctor's office, we have tried all the herbal treatments and the home remedies and even over the counter medication. Ours is, therefore, a chronology of issues and sideshows. When we arrive at the doctor's office, even with an appointment, the doctor seems to be in a hurry to do his thing. You have a story to tell as to the genesis of this affliction, but the doctor decides to just dish out medication in a hurry in order to make the next appointment.
Getting a pap smear from a person who is in a hurry to get to the next appointment can be uncomfortable and chances of not detecting some anomalies can easily rise. These days, this behavior is not acceptable. If we have a doctor’s appointment these days, that time is ours and the line outside is not our business.
Oddly enough, insurance companies have been making the push to get doctors to spend more time with their patients and to give the patient time to talk and become comfortable.
In the 90s, the push was to see as many patients as possible each day and if one patient kept the doctor over 10 minutes, it threw off the appointment schedule for the entire day. These days, the focus is more on quality than quantity. When a doctor is able to take the time to get to know their patients, they can make better diagnoses.
6 Just "Practicing" Medicine
Most doctors have a god complex that puts off a patient rather than comforts. In the 90s, doctors would never admit to not knowing what was wrong with a patient or what medical procedures to carry out. For these patients, the doctors had a tendency to experiment by giving him various concoctions of medicine hoping one would hit the jackpot.
In truth, it is called “practicing” medicine and many say that it is true that doctors are often “just practicing,” because they really don’t know what to do in some circumstances.
Doctors never said they were puzzled and really didn’t know what was wrong with a patient. They were good at giving false hope and in some cases, unscrupulous doctors would be milking the patient dry while knowing they were stuck. These days doctors will at least admit that they are puzzled by a patient’s illness and ask one to seek a second opinion. Rarely will a doctor now blindly treat a patient not knowing what the real problem is, as this is a lawsuit in waiting. Any medical procedure carried out on a patient calls for consent and with the consent, a full disclosure of the reason for it is called for.
5 There Was A Lack Of Compassion
Medicine is often a calling and it is one of those callings that requires compassion, patience, and understanding. These days though, medicine has become a money-making venture. In the 90s, the richest person was usually a doctor. The more patients a doctor had, the more money he can make.
It is during this time that a pregnant mother would go to the hospital to deliver her baby, only to have the doctor reprimand her for daring to push too soon. Screaming in pain was also not condoned as the doctors felt the patients were pretending or nurses would go as far as saying that the noise was upsetting the other patients.
Empathy should be an attribute of every doctor and it is sad to see a doctor who does not empathize with his patients. In this age, patients no longer condone this habit and a lack of compassion will have patients walking out the door and seeking medical treatment elsewhere. Ill-treatment of a patient could land a doctor in a court of law embroiled in a lawsuit. It is true that some may feel ‘called’ upon to become a doctor, but not everyone who hears the calling is suited to work with people. Some doctors also have egos so large that they can’t empathize. These doctors will find their patient base dwindling.
4 Mocking A Patient
In the labor room, women tend to become drama queens. Not because they are high maintenance or spoiled, but because they cannot handle the pain and if one woman is screaming as she delivers, the other one is bound to panic. Apart from women who can afford private rooms in the labor ward, most women panic because of what they see and by the time it is their turn, they are almost going crazy.
When the contractions are coming hard and heavy and a woman screams for a doctor who comes in for the cervical exam. Try as she may she just can't relax enough and the exam becomes a nightmare. During that time when a woman is panicked and feeling like the next contraction will end her, it was not uncommon to find a doctor who would belittle her pain and act like she is just pretending, after all, we are all told labor is manageable.
Even though labor is a natural process, it is nature's most painful process and one that turns a grownup into a needy person. Expecting a little decorum on the part of the doctor when he is helping a woman deliver is not too much to ask.
3 The Money Talk
Most hospitals have their policies and the doctors are expected to follow these policies. But every hospital has the policymakers and the implementation. The healthcare provider should not be the one to tell a patient ‘I need a million dollars to treat this.’ The doctor should not be the ones to ask for insurance. A doctor who treats you and asks for money appears heartless and as much as we know that we do pay this doctor we really would like to pretend that when they treat us it because for them, medicine is a calling and not a business.
In the 90s, the doctors were the people to talk about the money required and to deny or give medical assistance if the money requirements are met.
These days, a doctor’s job is to treat and in most of the cases, money is rarely exchanged between the patient and the doctor. The doctor’s job is to treat the patients with or without direct compensation and no patient should be turned away even if they do not have money, as long as they require medical attention. The money should be the last thing a doctor in this situation should ask for.
2 'Deal With It' Attitude
In the 90s, patients found themselves caught in a ‘deal with it attitude,’ when they visited the doctor’s office, more often than not. When a man in his sixties would visit a doctor with pain in his joints, it was quite common to find the doctor telling the patient ‘its age.'
This statement is hurtful considering the fact that a man who just celebrated his sixtieth birthday is aware he is sixty and does not require the doctor telling him this fact. There may be no treatment to cure joint pain that comes from old age, but there is a way to make a person’s pain manageable.
A man in his sixties who has lived a sedentary life may never run a marathon but he can be advised on how to live his life without pain and this is the compassion that doctors in the 90s lacked. A doctor should be compassionate and try to tell him that despite his age, there is a remedy that could help alleviate the pains and aches that come with age. That deal with it attitude cannot be condoned today and a doctor is expected to do due diligence and not discriminate based on age, gender or even race.
1 Me, Me, Me
Most of us have gone into the doctor's office to take our kids or even when we were sick, only to have the first thirty minutes of the doctor's appointment taken by the doctor's anecdotes of his accomplishments, his children, and his family life. Some doctors even trivialize your issues and make theirs paramount and it becomes a competition between his ailments and yours. The doctors days in college take up the other fifteen minutes of the session and before you know it you only have ten minutes left in the appointment and the doctor rushes through the examination at this point.
With the long line outside we feel guilty on behalf of the doctor bearing in mind that we were kept waiting for half our appointment and the rest of the patients suffered the same fate. With a rushed exam, the patient is left feeling short-changed and in most cases misdiagnosed. This bragging would fly in the 90s, but these days, patients know their rights and they refuse to have their time wasted. A doctors appointment these days is all about the patient, never the doctor and since the patient is the client then he is the boss.