Take a moment now to picture in your mind some of your least favorite patient experiences. One of a doctor’s worst nightmares can be when a patient comes in complaining of a number of non-specific vague complaints, and all of the tests come back normal. She’s obviously sincere in her complaints, and she’s already been to four other doctors who have not been able to help her. She may be hopeless, she may be aggravated, she may be pretending to be nonchalant, she may be suspicious, she may be rude or testy, she may be worried, but one thing is clear: she is very much looking to you for help. That’s unfortunate, because there’s nothing wrong with the patient, and there’s nothing you can do to help her. Or is there? It’s in her mind, she’s got a bad attitude, she’s looking for attention, she enjoys the sick role. Or does she?
These kinds of patients used to be my least favorite, and now they are my most favorite. Their stories are often classic for what I consider to be a very simple and easily treated problem. The patients can scarcely believe their ears when hearing the possibilities; but when patients recover and those possibilities become realities, they are thrilled beyond measure. And why wouldn’t they be? Instead of adding your name to the list of helpless doctors, and walking away disillusioned, frustrated, or maybe even disgruntled; they are able to tell their family and friends to have renewed faith in the profession, because their doctor was able to really help them. There are many instances of this occurring all over the country, but for an example: I know of a doctor who treated a local playwright for Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome. The patient was so grateful for her recovery that on opening night of her next play she dedicated it, naming her doctor, and said that without his care she would not have been able to complete the play.
Having success with these patients really opened my eyes personally, as to how fun and rewarding practicing medicine can be. It’s amazing how fast a few years can pass when you’re having fun. To me, it’s put back all the best things about practicing medicine. Lots of other doctors have expressed these same sentiments. I think being a very happy doctor has a lot to do with having very happy patients. It’s nice when patients come to see you because they want to. There’s a huge number of people who feel they might benefit from this kind of approach (and many have and are), as evidenced by all the calls and letters we receive from people looking for doctors who treat Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome. These patients are highly motivated, cooperative, and grateful to doctors who will work with them. They understand the doctor may not be able tohelp them, but also are very glad the doctor is willing to try.