Different Strokes for Different Folks

Have you ever experienced liking someone so much that you feel so comfortable and so at ease?  Wouldn’t that be so great if that’s how every patient feels towards us?Would you think that holds the key to a long term patient – doctor relationship?

Patients come to see us  for a reason. For the most part because they have a health concern.  True.

But before they are patients , they are persons first. If we see that first in every patient , imagine the magic that it creates!

Different strokes for different folks. That i learned through time. Each person is different.  Personalities differ.

I had a newborn patient who fell ill shortly after birth. It looks like its a cyanotic heart disease.  Faced with such a condition, we held a family conference to be able to explain the situation.  For us, that would mean a whole bunch of people to explain to—mom, dad, grandparents, aunt, uncle etc. So there we were with a roomful of relatives. As we began carefully explaining why the patient turned toxic,possible courses and sequelae, my eyes saw different reactions from each one in the room.  Some were trying to absorb every word we were saying. Suddenly, one spoke with a tone  that seem to brush aside all the explaining we were doing. “So what’s the chance the baby will not make it?”


So there are patients who want details.

These patients bring a list of questions and concerns to be asked from us. They research about their conditions and can cite them during the consult.  They need their doctor to be thorough.They don’t like to be hurried.


Then there is one who wants things straight to the point.

No going around the bush.  They express with no uncertainty their preferences. They are quick to decide. They need their doctor to be straightforward and definite with their points.


There is the amiable patient.

This patient says yes to everything we say.  They follow every word and does not question for fear of offending even if what we are telling them might cause some difficulty.  They need a doctor  who would be sensitive to their unspoken needs because they are just too amiable to say it.


Adjusting our approach to these different folks will surely win their hearts.  Our desire to help them remains the same. The content of our conversations may be the same.  But our ways to bring them across may differ.

Different strokes for different folks!


Have you got other tips in dealing with different kinds of patients?








photo by renjith krishnan/freedigitalphotos.net