A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne
K. Young, Associate Editor.
Most physicians don't often think about being scared at their jobs.
Sure, there are people out there with guns, knives, and spatulas who could
decide to attack us when we least expect it, especially since mostly our patients
don't look at all dangerous. I once had a new patient who seemed very mild-mannered.
I noticed from her records that she'd been losing weight, so I asked her about
"I haven't been eating. I'm under a lot of stress." I have many patients
who have stress in their lives—why I myself consult a therapist for
exactly the same problem. I gently prompted the young woman as I always do
in such cases: "Tell me what's going on." "I'm out on bond for premeditated
murder." Perhaps the first question that defensively popped into my mind was,
The victim wasn't your last doctor, was it? "Well, I guess we'd all find that
pretty stressful," I told her out loud, though extra soothingly so as not
to rile her in any way.
Wellbery C. A Mutual Anxiety. JAMA. 2003;290(3):305. doi:10.1001/jama.290.3.305