Hitting a Nerve

Earning the trust of families


In a difficult field like medicine, it’s always nice when people appreciate what you’re trying to do. Even if things are good or bad in a case, it means a lot when they know you’re trying your best and are grateful for it.

Dr. Allan M. Block, a neurologist is Scottsdale, Ariz.

Dr. Allan M. Block

I’m not saying I expect it (I don’t), but it’s still nice when it happens.

Most of the time someone will say thank you. Occasionally I’ll get a card, or rarely a small gift or box of candy at the holidays. I’m not asking for them, but it’s thoughtful when they do that.

But perhaps the most meaningful way I realize people like and trust me is when they refer a family member. Or two. Or three.

Last week I had a nice college kid in to see me. I’d seen his mother in the past. And both of her parents.

When you have a third generation of a family coming in ... you must be doing something right.

I got curious, began looking through my charts, and was surprised by how many different families had two to three generations seeing me. In several cases the original patient had passed on, but obviously the family had felt good enough about me to come here when the need arose.

That really means a lot when you think about it. In a world in which many see doctors as interchangeable with each other and physician extenders, and where insurance plans seem to drop and sign practices at random, people have a lot of doctors to choose from. The fact that a family thinks highly enough of me to keep returning is flattering.

Medicine is never an easy job, even outside the endless paperwork and other, often pointless, things it requires. In spite of this, we all work hard to care for patients to the best of our ability. It’s nice when they feel we are, too, and trust us enough to share that sentiment with loved ones.

Dr. Block has a solo neurology practice in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Recommended Reading

Reimbursement for telemedicine services: A billing code disaster
MDedge Neurology
The limitations of telemedicine
MDedge Neurology
New York City inpatient detox unit keeps running: Here’s how
MDedge Neurology
Scientific doubt tempers COVID-19 vaccine optimism
MDedge Neurology
Testing the limits of medical technology
MDedge Neurology
APA, others lobby to make COVID-19 telehealth waivers permanent
MDedge Neurology
COVID-19 effect: Prescription fills mostly down for leading drugs
MDedge Neurology
COVID-19: An opportunity to rehumanize psychiatry
MDedge Neurology
COVID-19: New group stands up for health professionals facing retaliation
MDedge Neurology
Today’s top news highlights: Addressing racism in maternity care, group forms to protect health professionals from retaliation
MDedge Neurology