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No, You're The Jerk; Doc-Patient Summit Probes Sources of Mutual Disdain
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Physician patient relationships
Author: Redfearn, Suz
Date: Mar 9, 2004
Start Page: F.01

Fat chance the two of you will ever have time to sit down and work this stuff out. But 100 doctor-patient teams have done this for you, venting their complaints about each other during a three-day summit in Phoenix. They channeled those frustrations into a report filled with tips they hope will help heal wounded doctor-patient relationships nationwide.

In the 1970s, said [Marie Savard], studies began to show that patients with chronic conditions who are active in their own care have much better health outcomes. And yet, she said, doctors and patients are still stuck in what she called "Marcus Welby mode" -- with the omniscient, paternalistic doctor ministering to the passive, nodding patient. The summit's sponsors and participants hope their report will change that, offering both doctors and patients hints on how to interact in a more mutually satisfying way.

That may be, but John J. Seddon Jr. can vouch for the tips in the report. He said that participating in the summit as a patient has transformed the way he views his health care and the way he comports himself at the doctor's office. The 70-year-old retired Air Force intelligence officer said he now takes more responsibility for his own health, exercising religiously to lose weight and taking all his blood pressure medications as prescribed. And when he encounters rudeness or apathy at the doctor's office, he no longer shrinks away quietly, assuming doctor knows best.

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