Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Prejudice : young doctors

In my mind a doctor should be someone older than me. But, having reached the great age of 40, I find myself going to consult doctors whom I feel I could almost have given birth to. And I don't like it. I know their kind, DH's god-daughter is studying medecine and she's so... well, young! She's so inexperienced in human lives and feelings that are different from hers.

Coming from France and experiencing the British health system I found that doctors here listen more to their patients. In France they want to give you a prescription to treat any and every of your symptoms. Here they don't want to give you a prescription but I really believe that what you gain is being more considered like a person than a sum of symptoms.

But when they're just out of school... What do they know about the life and struggles of a mum of four? And about children? About anything?!
Recently DS has had troubles with a persistent runny tummy... The young doctor I saw suspected food intolerance and advised to cut things out of his diet. Ok, so far it's sensible enough. What she shouldn't have said was "At this age (4 in January) they don't notice if you take something out of their diet."
...!!!!!!! I don't think I need to explain how this statement is wrong in so many ways.

How can you not be prejudiced when you entrust your children's health in somebody who so clearly doesn't understand what a child is about? I think it's important to know what someone is about to treat them.

I know doctors have to learn, have to start somewhere. But maybe their curriculum should include some basis in psychology, sociology, child psychology, counselling... Is that too much to ask?! ;)


  1. I have to say, that as a mum who's had lots of experience with doctors with my daughter, I don't think the issue you're referring to is necessarily down to age. An older doctor without kids could quite easily make a similar statement. My sister is a young doctor, she's just finished her second training year. She's now been training for 7 years (inc medical degree) and I don't know how she could have got any more experience under her belt. The problem is, working the 14 hour shifts 7 days in a row during the early training years doesn't always leave much room for "life experience". I know I would say this, but I'm sure she's just as capable, with an equally lovely bedside manner as some of her equally qualified, older colleagues.

  2. I agree with you. Someone of 20 can have natural empathy towards others while someone of 60 will have none at all.
    I'm conscious of being prejudiced but, as much as I try to reason it, I enter a consultation room, see someone very young and feel mistrust 'a priori' but I must say I have met some young doctors whose judgement I have trusted and others I haven't, just like with older doctors! It's just that first impression...!

  3. Hi there,
    Months ago (in January) you very kindly read one of my stories via my blog and made some helpful comments and I feel terrible for not getting back to you earlier to say thank you! I need to work out how to get comments sent directly to my email, as I hadn't blogged for ages and completely missed your comment until now. So...thank you again, and look forward to reading your blog.