DEAR ABBY: Please share something with medical professionals that will be of immense help to their patients:
When telling patients to perform an action -- "Stand on tiptoe, squat, turn this way or that, cough," etc. -- and it is essential for your diagnosis that they tell you whether it hurts or not -- ASK THEM!
I have more than once been cut off from essential medical treatment because I did not realize that the doctor, dentist, physical therapist, etc. had assumed that an action was pain-free because I didn't say "OUCH!" (I didn't say it because I didn't know I was expected to, and having a fairly stoic personality, I don't complain about every pain I experience.)
A similar lack of communication has been mentioned by several friends who have been asked, "Have you ever had such and such medication before?" They have simply replied, "Yes," without realizing that the care provider assumes that they will mention any bad reaction they had to the medication. Since doctors can't read minds, patients may wind up being re-dosed with something they are allergic to.
Remember, most of your patients have never been to medical or nursing school, so they don't know the reason for your questions unless you tell them. -- ROSEMARIE ESKES, ROCHESTER, N.Y.
DEAR MRS. ESKES: On behalf of all medical professionals and their patients, I thank you. But I would like to add another thought: If a patient has a bad reaction to a prescribed medication, it is the patient's responsibility to notify the doctor immediately so that information can become a part of his or her medical file.
Also, when patients are being treated for a chronic problem, it is a good idea for them to keep a daily diary for the doctor, because often when patients get to the doctor's office, they become nervous or distracted and forget to tell the doctor about symptoms that might be important.