Me (going through long spiel about stroke prevention with medications): …So we’re going to start you on a new medicine to help lower your cholesterol.
Patient: Those pills are poison. They cause heart attacks and liver failure and bladder cancer and muscle damage. I’m not putting that in my body.
Me (thinking): yet you continue to smoke a pack a day…
Me: well, that’s up to you of course, but I wouldn’t prescribe it if I didn’t think the benefit was greater than the risk for you. You’ve already had 2 TIAs this week. Your risk of having a stroke in the near future is pretty high, and this can help lower your risk.
Patient: Well I don’t believe you. Your job is to try to sell me medicines. Your job is to push pills. My job is to be smart and know what I’m putting in my body. I don’t even know you!
Me: I totally agree that you should know what you’re putting in your body. I also believe you should understand the risks and potential benefits of your medicines so you can make a more informed decision.
Patient: Well whether I take your medicine or not is not up to you. It’s none of your business. That’s between me and my DOCTOR.
Patient’s daughter: Mama, she IS your doctor.
Patient: (quiet)… oh… umm…. well… I guess I owe you an apology? I thought you were a regular hospital worker. Are you sure you’re old enough to be a doctor? Let me see your nametag. Well I guess you know what you’re talking about then. I guess I’ll take the meds. Now let’s talk about my blood pressure pills…