1. Patients launch $1.27 million crowdfunding campaign for ME/CFS gut microbiome study.
    Check out the website, Facebook and Twitter. Join in donate and spread the word!
Knitting Equals Pleasure, Despite ME/CFS
Jody Smith loves knitting. Again. She thought her days of knitting and purling were long over but ... she's back ...
Discuss the article on the Forums.

Does your doctor shake you by the hand?

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by Firestormm, Jun 17, 2013.

?

Does you doctor shake you by the hand?

  1. Yes - Always

    19.2%
  2. Yes - Sometimes

    19.2%
  3. No - Never

    61.5%
  1. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

    Messages:
    5,824
    Likes:
    5,965
    Cornwall England
    How does it make you feel when a doctor shakes you by the hand, or takes your hand when perhaps discussing/relating something of importance? Do you think doctors resist such contact these days? And what is the message behind such a demonstration?

    My former ME Specialist Professor Tony Pinching happened to feature on a BBC Radio 4 programme yesterday morning, that was talking about hand-holding and what it might mean:

    OK. It's a bit 'happy-clappy' for me in places but in relation to medical professionals and taking a patient's hand - as a matter of routine or one of especial significance - it made me think.

    I sometimes go out of my way to shake a doctor by the hand. On occasion they look 'odd' when I do. Throughout most of my life I can honestly say that of all the doctors I have seen, very few have offered me their hand.

    I think it should happen more often. I don't know why they don't practice this simple act. It establishes something - although I don't know what exactly; but because it doesn't happen often (and I was used to it in business) I think it takes something away from the relationship.

    This was brought home to me last Friday when I met with a neurologist I hadn't met before. He was from another country and that might have made a difference perhaps, but his taking my hand before and after our meeting, certainly did make a difference.

    Hard to quantify what that difference was though - sincerity? acknowledgement? endorsement? - it certainly wasn't a feeling of routine; but I'd hate to think that doctors in general only made the effort when imparting 'bad news' as with terminal patients.

    How would you feel if a doctor was to shake you by the hand? Shocked? Alarmed? Scared?

    I think I shall offer my hand to my non-hand-shaking GP when next I visit with him. See what he makes of it and report back. Will also see if he washes his hands afterwards - MRSA and all that!

    :cool:
    xchocoholic likes this.
  2. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

    Messages:
    6,041
    Likes:
    8,403
    Amersfoort, Netherlands
    My GP and the other GP I often see (they each work part time on different days) shake my hand. I think some of the specialists I've seen have done it as well.

    I suppose it's a way for the doctor and patient to engage with each other in a more personal manner. Maybe it helps both parties to see each other as human, rather than as a supplicant-guru interaction.

    I wish I could remember if the more assholey specialists shook my hand as well.
    xchocoholic and Firestormm like this.
  3. snowathlete

    snowathlete

    Messages:
    2,045
    Likes:
    2,140
    UK
    I'd not really thought about this before. I don't think any of my GPs in recent years have done that. None of my NHS dentists either.
    But when I've seen private consultants in the UK they always do, and it's the same with my private dentists.

    I voted no, because I'm guessing the GP experience is more on topic?
    Firestormm and maryb like this.
  4. Allyson

    Allyson *****

    Messages:
    1,684
    Likes:
    668
    Australia, Melbourne
    SOme docs do, some docs don't

    personally i wonder about hygeine issues when they do ....is that gross.
    though they are usually the nice ones who do it so I suppose they take care of hand hygeine?

    Voted sometimes as some do.
    camas, xchocoholic and Firestormm like this.
  5. maryb

    maryb iherb code TAK122

    Messages:
    2,741
    Likes:
    1,770
    UK
    My experience exactly too - my NHS GP's have never offered me their hand - all those seen privately have done, and shook my my husband's hand too. Maybe they don't get handshake training until they become more highly qualified - probably take them a week's intensive course, many will fail - shaking smelly patient's hands - just can't do it:)
    Firestormm, snowathlete and Valentijn like this.
  6. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

    Messages:
    5,824
    Likes:
    5,965
    Cornwall England
    or until they can charge a private fee? :) I'm sure this isn't the case of course ;) Interesting observation though.
  7. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,176
    Likes:
    5,162
    manipulation?

    I'm afraid that the biopsychosocial approach to CFS has left me disliking attempts by medical staff to 'build a relationship'. I just cannot trust them while people like Wessely, Chalder, White and Crawley hold positions of authority in the NHS, and now prefer it when a doctor is cold and blunt.

    It is a bit rubbish, as I'm sure some doctors are just decent and humane rather than cynically trying to manage their patients, but too much psychosocial management has been inflicted without informed consent.

    EDIT: Actually, this is probably too strong and simplistic for a complicated topic. Having read a lot of the biopsychosocial papers around CFS though, I do now have a real wariness around any medical professional who knows that I have been given a CFS diagnosis, and cannot trust them in the way that I previously did (and which led to me trusting some real manipulative and disdainful quackery).
    golden, Firestormm and Valentijn like this.
  8. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

    Messages:
    5,824
    Likes:
    5,965
    Cornwall England
    If a doctor wishes/feels the need to express empathy then I'd really hope he/she would 'reach out' through a held hand or something. Yeah maybe for some this is more difficult in today's society - doctors 'touching' patients - but when I have been in a mess and breaking down in front of these professionals; a taken hand would have helped me a lot and meant a lot too. They'd come across as far more human if they were to 'bridge this divide' that they seem to have set-up. You know the 'professional distance' bollocks. Balance is important but doctors should be willing to do more to establish a relationship and not treat us/make us feel like cattle: '7 minutes. I'll give you 7 minutes and then you are out of here!'
  9. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,606
    Likes:
    1,237
    Florida
    I've gotten more pats on the back or a hand on my arm from my doctors. I had one that actually hugged me. That was nice. With all the bugs going around, I'd rather not shake their hands. Who knows what illness someone before me had.

    Typically tho I've seen their human sides from facial expressions and kind words. I'm totally hooked on going to the ER if I have a kidney stone and resulting infection now. :cool: The level of caring and health care couldn't be much better as far as I'm concerned. I'm sure it's because they have a guide for dealing these and they always take away my pain and nausea. Too bad we can't get a "playbook" for CFS.

    Actually, in 1998, 8 years post CFS dx, I was dx with highly aggressive level 4 melanoma (gone via surgery and never returned - kow), and I saw a side of the medical profession I'd never seen before. People who'd previously been rather rude to me, suddenly became the sweetest caring people you could imagine. It really freaked me out because I was prepared for their normal nastiness. o_O You know, say as little as possible and get the hell out of there. :cautious:

    FWIW tho, I'd couldn't be a healthcare provider. It would take too much out of me emotionally to deal with illness 24/7. Koodos to those who do it so well. :hug:

    Interesting topic .. tx .. X
    camas and Valentijn like this.
  10. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

    Messages:
    3,244
    Likes:
    3,644
    Cornwall, UK
    I like it when they greet you by standing up, shaking your hand and looking you in the eye with a welcoming smile. To me that shows respect.

    I would not like other kinds of physical contact like handholding from a male doctor, just as I would not like it from other males whom I do not know well.

    But I like it when compassion shows in their expressions, such as when a GP had tears in his eyes when I was in great distress over a traumatic life event. (A certain Professor Wessely thinks this is wrong. Funny how we rarely agree...if ever.)

    I had a consultation with Prof Pinching, and he greeted me in the way that I describe above, and was respectful throughout the hour-long consultation and in his subsequent report. Why do so many doctors find this so hard?
  11. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

    Messages:
    5,824
    Likes:
    5,965
    Cornwall England
    I honestly cannot think why they might find it hard, MeSci. Doesn't cost them anything does it? Compassion - gone from healthcare? Whatever. It's just a nice thing for them to do. Respect.
  12. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,108
    Likes:
    633
    NY
    I try to avoid it. It was only relatively recently that the medical profession accepted and understood germ theory. Some of the doctors probably haven't caught up yet. :p
    Allyson likes this.
  13. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

    Messages:
    5,824
    Likes:
    5,965
    Cornwall England
    Ah. But do you get offered 'the hand' to shake in the first place, Jeff? :)
  14. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

    Messages:
    6,584
    Likes:
    5,368
    Albuquerque
    Some do and some don't. Often wondered if the ones who are clued into ME are cautious about catching our cooties. :eek:

    Sushi
    Firestormm likes this.
  15. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,108
    Likes:
    633
    NY

    Usually when I'm leaving. :D
    Firestormm likes this.
  16. Allyson

    Allyson *****

    Messages:
    1,684
    Likes:
    668
    Australia, Melbourne
    Heh this is sadly true alas jeeffrez.
    This is something nuses seem to get taught; but a lot of docs think they are above germs - not all.
    Think about it - the place you are most likely to catch something is a hospital or dotors' surgery as that is where all the infected people - and those who touch them - are.

    Having said that, a genuine warm handshake is nice at the start of a consult, and it often indicates a human touch and that they take you seriously.

    Although there may be a marketing side to it to for some private docs - you are more likely to make a sale to someone if you touch them physically during a transaction.

    A
    MeSci and Firestormm like this.
  17. Kina

    Kina Moderation Team Lead

    Messages:
    5,258
    Likes:
    3,618
    Ontario, Canada
    Most of my doctors have been females and none of them were hand-shakers. I have had a few do so at the end of consultations regarding my daughter -- usually only met them once though.

    The worst experience I ever had with a doctor was when he told me some devastating news and then he proceeded to pat me on the head as he was leaving. I think if he had extended his hand to me after that, I would have lost it.

    As a nurse, dealing with palliative care patients, I used to hold their hand as a measure of comfort. It wasn't just a formal hello/goodbye gesture. I think lately, in Canada at least, hand shaking seems to done by the older doctors rather than the younger ones.
    ukxmrv and Firestormm like this.
  18. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,330
    Likes:
    1,762
    London
    NHS docs add to the air around them that they are too busy to deal with patients by not shaking hands. I remember one famous Professor I saw (she likes to be on the TV now) who called my name in a crowded room and the dashed back to her room expecting me to follow. I eventually found her but there was no introduction, let alone a handshake. She was as bad as the Wesselyites in relation to the problem I was seeing her for. Whenever this happens I know that they want me out of that room and out of their hair ASAP.

    It was like a filmstar and the "do you know who I am!" arrogance that she didn't even bother to introduce herself.
    Firestormm likes this.
  19. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

    Messages:
    5,824
    Likes:
    5,965
    Cornwall England
    Yep I find it even more disheartening and insulting when it's someone you've never met before who does this - or rather doesn't. Bad enough meeting someone you've been referred to for the first time and then to be made to feel - as I said - like another piece of meat; well, it's insulting. These people are not Gods - no matter what they might think. Nor Angels either come to that. I used to think consultants were a law unto themselves - they probably still are - but I know think that the lowly GP is trying to copy their example: presenting a cold-front something they think is professional distance. Little do they realise the impact this can have on we lowly patients.

    I expect Kina can say a thing or two about consultants and their god-like ways. I know my Mum - as another former-nurse can :) :)
  20. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,935
    Likes:
    2,367
    WA, USA
    I've had a GP (female from Pakistan) who always shook my hand, and a specialist (male) who always shakes my hand. I think this is nice. Both call me by my last name as well.
    Firestormm likes this.

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page