Deep Thoughts

When You Feel Like You Can’t Be Fixed

April 25, 2022

Sonia Singh MD
I'm a primary care doctor who is passionate about food, writing and making healthcare less frustrating and more empowering. These are my musings. Thanks for reading!

I’ve noticed something interesting lately-

When I have a complex patient that’s had a lot of unresolved issues for a lot of years, they often start to believe, “No one can fix this.”

When these patients would come to me on a packed clinic day with their stack of records, med and allergy lists a mile long, and unexplained symptoms from head to toe, sometimes I too would have the feeling “I can’t fix this.”

I believe very strongly that most patients can pick up instantly on whether you’re ACTUALLY listening and if you actually care/want to help. And if I was sitting there thinking I couldn’t fix their problems, it’s no surprise that they would continue to believe no one could. Many of these patients eventually give up or end up venturing into expensive, unproven and even dangerous alternative treatments.

Over the years, I’ve felt more and more confident in what I can fix and now that I have the luxury of time, I’m no longer intimidated by complex patients. But what I’ve learned is most important is to know and BELIEVE that I can always help.

Even if I can’t “fix” the problem, I can still offer something of value – often this is active listening, validation or reassurance that they’ve done everything they could do and simply acknowledging their struggle. And most importantly, to really mean it. Patients pick up on this energy and I sincerely believe it is therapeutic in itself.

Just my random 2 cents on medicine for the day… ☺️

be well,
Sonia Singh MD

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