I was admitted to the Priory Hospital on Monday for help with my depression. I was both very anxious and terrified of being an inpatient as had previous bad experiences there before but because I was desperate and fortunate to have health insurance I felt it was worth a shot. I felt I had nothing to lose and was running out of options for help, support and needed a place of safety.
I cannot fault the accommodation or the admission staff who were very kind to me.
What is inexcusable is what followed after I had been shown to my bedroom. I was seen by a registrar to go over my long and complex medical history which in itself is daunting. He introduced himself and apologised in advance that he would be typing up my answers to his questions. So picture the scene…I am perched on a bed while he is at my desk typing away on his laptop asking me very personal questions with his back facing me.
Would you feel comfortable answering the following questions with someone’s back to you with no eye contact, no body language and therefore not able to show any degree of empathy or understanding?
How long have you suffered with depression?
Have you been physically or sexually abused?
Do you feel suicidal?
I didn’t and just answered his questions yes or no and discharged myself 3 hours later.
If I went to a restaurant and a waiter or waitress took my order with their back turned to me I would either think it was a practical joke or just plain rude and walk straight out.
I understand that Dr’s have to take notes but for crying out loud not with their back turned to you on a laptop!
A simple solution that is commonly used is to write notes down while sitting opposite and facing their patient thereby maintaining eye contact. If those notes have to be typed out then they are done after that meeting.
Technology can be great but please let’s not lose the human touch.