White Doctor Wanted: An Inappropriate Request And The Real Issue

While the video of a woman went viral overnight over the comments she’s made at a walk at a Mississauga, Ontario clinic, it’s clear that when you look at the online reaction a major issue have been missed: inappropriate patient behaviour.

First of all, if you haven’t seen the video, here’s a link to the original CBC article.

What you see here is a woman who’s clearly upset.

Ignore, for a moment, that she has blurted out some rather non-politically correct statements — which most of us can agree isn’t acceptable.

What is disturbing is how her behaviour is happening at a walk in clinic. A place where there are clearly other patients waiting to be seen.

I’m sure that every day in medical clinics across Ontario (and Canada) there are people whose behaviour is affecting and costing the system a lot of money, wasting valuable resources.

I can imagine that while trying to calm this angry woman down, the medical secretaries and other staff have had to divert their attention and time from other people who could have otherwise been seen faster and more timely.

And I can also imagine sick people who arrived at the clinic while this was all taking place decided to leave because of all the commotion.

Sadly, poor patient behaviour is a seldom looked upon issue in our healthcare system. It’s costing us, and is generally making our society worst off by squandering healthcare resources.

Patient Rights Isn’t This

Make no mistake — this isn’t patient rights.

Demanding to see a “white doctor” in a clinic where there isn’t one is clearly unacceptable when we live in a multicultural country like Canada.

But patients do this all the time.

And it may not be about race, but simply because “I don’t like that doctor”.

The trend in healthcare has made it so much about the individual patient that we forget that it’s also about all patients and the betterment of society in general.

Patients behave inappropriately all the time demanding all sorts of accommodations when the system simply is unable to provide.

While the Mississauga clinic incident highlighted an inappropriate request for a doctor of a different colour, I assure you that other equally trivial and inappropriate requests occur all the time and receive little to no attention from the public.

A System That Encourages Poor Behaviour

Many online have asked why the woman who behaved inappropriately had her face blurred out.

It comes down to privacy and the enormous rights patient have.

In an ironic twist, the woman in the video has a right to cause further harm to our strained medical system by filing a complaint against the clinic and the doctor to the College of Physician and Surgeons of Ontario.

We like to think of the regulatory body as protecting the public — and they do for a minority of cases — but the reality is that a complaint to the college would result in a mandatory investigation of the clinic and the doctor.

For most of us, this would seem outrageous — and it is.

A woman who has clearly acted out to such a degree that other members of the public felt necessary, as they did in the video, to confront her should be reprimanded herself.

But instead, our system allows for her to waste further public resources to investigate the clinic and the physician who works there at no cost to her.

The other thing that you notice is that the police have decided not to lay charges.

Because the entire incident is in a medical setting, the rights of the individual patient has once again trumped everything else.

Poor patient behaviour: the cost adds up

Handling and responding to poor patient behaviour costs something. It isn’t free.

Doctors, nurses, and other medical support staff who otherwise could be seeing other patients more quickly have to stop what they’re doing and do what basically amounts to extreme customer service for that one bad patient.

Imagine if you’re waiting in line to see a doctor and one of these fellow citizen is standing between you and your access to your doctor.

We, as a society, need to do better in policing ourselves before the minority of us whose selfishness puts unnecessary strain on an already strained medical system.