doctor looks at patient and makes diagnostic statement based on patient's look

B

bunrab

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
13
#1
doctor looks at patient and makes diagnostic statement based on patient's look

I visited my son in the hospital shortly before he was released and was surpised that his doctor looked at him and thought he was not doing OK (i.e., had mental condition). What do people think about a doctor diagnosing someone's facial expression? I thought my son looked OK -- neither particularly happy or sad, etc., but she said she could look at him and see he was not OK. I thought he was happy to g=be getting out of the hospital, but she apparently had an entirely different opinion. I did not make any waves about that, but did not like her assessment. Also, I later found out that she made a written assessment of me (related to my son's care) based on my having been in a mental health facility before -- that I have a condition and no current support system. I was surprised, as I have had the same job for many years and own my own condo, have friends there and have friends at a senior center. How could some doctor who does not know me conclude that I currently have some kind of condition and am dysfunctional? After this experience, I am reluctant to have much to do directly with any mental health professional, though I need to in order to help take care of my son. Any opinions on a doctor possibly assuming too much about other people?
 
Cazcat

Cazcat

Well-known member
Moderator
Joined
Sep 12, 2013
Messages
2,421
#2
When my husband was recovering from his worst psychotic episode and the homelessness it had resulted in he had a Dr tell him that he LOOKED well enough to work and he wouldn't be providing him with anymore sick notes. I was furious, there was no discussion with his CPN who was spending 1-2 hours a week with him, just a 5 minute conversation.

I would hope that a psychiatrist would be basing her opinion on more than just what he LOOKED like at the time, though. Reports from other staff, previous assessments etc.

I think that her concerns for the impact of caring for your son on your own mental health are valid though. Caring for someone with mental illness can be very difficult and often affects the carers own mental health even when they have not previously had mental health problems. I have benefited from a large amount of support for maintaining my own mental health alongside my husband's from his mental health team as well as my own Dr. If they are offering more support from my personal experience grab it with both hands.
 
B

bunrab

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
13
#3
Thanks for your reply. While I was there, the doctor did say directly to my son that my son looked not OK, even though he was not frowning or visibly sullen or upset, as far as I could tell. This is what bothers me. If a doctor says this to a patient, it seems like a negative comment to make that could have an adverse affect. I only met the doctor that one time shortly before his release from the hospital. Later, I saw in some of my son's release paperwork that the doctor had written the aforesaid negative comment about me. She only met me once for about 10 minutes, and never asked me any questions about my support system, or really anything else, so I thought it was premature for her to write the extremely negative comment about me.
 
Cazcat

Cazcat

Well-known member
Moderator
Joined
Sep 12, 2013
Messages
2,421
#4
Hi,

I think it's a matter of perceptions really. It sounds like the Drs comments have offended and upset you and some can be quite blunt. The first time I met my husband's psychiatrist she gave him a real telling off and told him he needed to grow up, even his CPN said he felt it wasn't wholly deserved, and I was a bit unsure about her, but as I've got to know her better I've grown to like and respect her and realised it is just her manner. Personally I don't think the comments were particularly negative. I have no idea what is written about me in my husband's notes but if someone had commented that I had a previous history of mental health problems and no support network they would have been wholly accurate in their observation. They may well have done as they put a support network in place for me and they treat us as one unit because they know if one of us struggles we both do. I certainly know that I have been discussed in my husband's team meetings because his CPN has phoned me afterwards to let me know that one of his colleagues was able to offer me more support which I am very grateful for as I was quite unwell and not coping at that point.

My advice about dealing with the professionals involved with you son is to build a good working relationship with them so that you are part of the team. Be open and honest with them about how you are coping and don't be afraid to ask for help, they will not judge you negatively for needing support or for not coping by yourself, it can be a huge undertaking supporting someone with a mental illness and they do not expect people to cope with it alone. In fact there is a whole organisation in our area specifically to support carers of people with mental health problems. My other advice is to look after yourself first because if you go under you can't support your son (I've learned this the hard way) and to accept any help and support offered, this is a marathon not a sprint and the more people/services in your support crew the smother things will be.