Can We Please Stop Talking About “Bad” Patients?

I want to address a disturbing trend I have noticed among chiropractors.  It goes something like this:  “that patient just wasn’t a good patient, patients from ______ are never good patients, I send all my bad patients down the street.”

It’s time for us to stop talking like this.  Maybe there are no bad patients.  Maybe there are only bad chiropractors.

Chiropractors who are bad at communicating.  Chiropractors who are bad at customer service.  Chiropractors who are just plain a**holes.

So dear chiropractor maybe there aren’t any bad patients. Maybe you just suck!

I actually had one chiropractor say he didn’t take “sh**ty patients anymore.  He said, “If you won’t follow through with maintenance I don’t want you.”

Most chiropractors aren’t so brazen as this, but I think that a degree of that sentiment runs rampant in our profession.  Early on in my career, I ran into more than a few chiropractors who had utter disdain for MA patients.  A clinic owner I interned under would routinely bash patients to her associates.

It just makes me sick.

There are No “Bad” Patients

There are just patients that don’t see health and chiropractic the same way you do.  Do you only love your spouse if they agree with you 100% of the time?

Our job isn’t to only deal with those most like ourselves.  Our job is to serve humanity with love.  If I dismissed every patient that disagreed with me, my family would be living under a bridge in a cardboard box, and I would have missed out on a lot of great relationships and experiences.

Take one of my favorite patients of all time for instance.  Blake was (he died in a tragic car accident 2 years ago) a great man.  Well loved (well over 1,300 people attended his funeral) and accomplished in farming. He came into our office shortly after we bought it.  He flat out told my wife he didn’t want to come in more than two or three times and that he wasn’t sure about chiropractors and their ethics.

She lovingly served him and over time he became a regular maintenance patient of ours and referred countless other patients into our office.  If we had dismissed him early on as a bad patient we would have missed out on so much by not being involved in Blake’s life.

We All Struggle with Something

I try very hard not to look down on people on MA.  You have to remember we all struggle with something in our lives that most people have no idea about.  That goes for MA patients and those you think have it all together.  Take me for example.  Most people have no idea I lost a sister 8 years ago, or that I struggle with depression and at times suicidal thoughts.

Are some people on MA and they will never get off?  Sure.  Are some people on MA for a time until they get to the next stage of life?  You bet.  We absolutely shouldn’t look down on either one.

Let me relate the story of Marcy.  Marcy is your “typical” MA patient.  She has five kids with as many partners.  Hasn’t worked a day in her life.  Will probably be on state aid until she dies.

But you know what.  She also has Crohn’s and RA.  AND she was born a crack baby.

This woman had the cards stacked against her from conception.  But she is fighting on in life and doing the best she can.

You see I believe every life matters.  So does our Creator.  We are all made in His image.

So think about that before you get all high and mighty talking about sh**ty patients.

Love people and serve them where they are at.  You never know how the relationship will turn out and you never know what hardships a person has had to face.  Your life and your practice will be richer for it.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.