“Old-Fashioned” Doctors, the Good Old Days

With technology comes efficiency. We can punch everything into a computer and access it in a blink of an eye. This is both a blessing and a curse. What has gotten lost in the process is humanity.

I miss my last family doctor. He always sat down with me, face to face. He took the time to not just ask about how I was feeling but would engage in conversation about life. He knew me and not just because I’d been his patient for years but because he really listened.

What I see these days with many (not all) doctors is a, “one foot in the door and one foot out” approach. Doctors with their backs turned to you the entire visit while they type everything into a computer. Doctors treating patients as numbers not individuals. If I get sick, I opt to go to the clinic. At least they punch everything into the computer while sitting facing me.

I asked my new doctor once about getting a Vitamin B shot. I was not impressed with his response in the slightest. He downed the “old-fashioned” doctors. “They did things differently than we do now days. We do not just give shots upon request. I need to see a deficiency in your blood work.” It was much more condescending in person.

“They did things differently than we do now days.” Ya got that right! They listened to their patients. They understood that their patients knew their bodies better than anyone. They also understood that the “normal value range” scale is not a “one size fits all” pair of pants. They sat face to face and had conversations with their patients. Face to face!

Yes, I miss my old family doctor. He wrote everything down. There was no computer involved while meeting with his patients. Was this considered archaic by today’s standards? I’m sure. But it was more personal. Like so many things today, the medical profession has lost its humanity.

It’s easy to say, find a new doctor. It took me over a month to find one accepting new patients. I respect the principle of patient limits. These physicians are hopefully providing their patients with quality care. If they spread themselves too thin by taking on too many patients, the quality of care would suffer.

The bigger problem is; it seems that we are suffering a doctor shortage these days. I am not surprised. The population continues to grow and a high percentage of the population is growing older. Older individuals require more medical attention. This means higher demand with a faltering supply of physicians.

I hate to say it but I think this is just how things will be from here on out. The “old school” doctors are a thing of the past. Everything changes and we just have to adjust. The saying is true, “you don’t know what ya got, until it’s gone.”



26 thoughts on ““Old-Fashioned” Doctors, the Good Old Days”

  1. Interesting perspective segment Laura

    Yes technology can be life saving and alter course of someone in duress however just like as we seen in many cases it can be use as loaded weapon and a form of persecution to vilification to others mirrored by lies from others.

    A lot of procedures take place now that can be done with coordination with technology were never conceivable 20 yrs ago.

    I look forward to hearing more I am always up to dive into intellectualism of correlation



  2. Great post and so true! I had to wait 9 months for a new doctor last year and although he is nice he does try to get me out the door as quickly as possible! No going in for a regular check up, there must be a real medical problem. Is there another kind?

  3. Oh, my, yes!

    After our last move to the city, it took a while, but we found a good family doctor. He was really awesome – but his own health was not good. He had to go on medical leave a few times, and then just didn’t come back.

    Finding a new doctor after that was really hard – especially one for my husband, who was having increasing back issues. He needed to get prescription refills, so he took the first person who could get him in; a Nurse Practitioner. She remained his primary care giver for quite a while, and I have no doubts that her inability to handle his needs has a lot to do with his ending up on long term disability. He was there for back pain, and she kept harping on him about his weight and his blood sugars – both of which were out of whack because of the back pain! His file was so complex, though, he didn’t want to break in another doctor until the insurance company insisted that, to go from short term to long term disability, he needed to be under the care of a doctor, not an NP.

    I went through a few doctors before I finally found an amazing one. During our meet and greet, I told him quite bluntly the issues I had with doctors who would see me as nothing more than “fat patient #32”, rather and a person. It turned out that he viewed himself and his role very much as an “old time” doctor. He actually took the time to get to know me. He and everyone else in that clinic were amazing.

    Then we moved.

    Now we’re having to break in a new doctor all over again. I hoped to be able to see the same one that is treating my husband. He is a very soft spoken, gentle young man that does seem to listen to my husband – but when I saw him for our own meet-and-greet (even though I’d already met him while accompanying my husband), he was already talking about putting me on statins, as a preventative. Why? Because of my age and “diabetes” (that is a whole other issue). Not because I actually have a medical condition requiring them. When I brought up the research that shows statins are not all that useful, even for what they are intended for, and are often quite harmful, he was dismissive of the “one study” that said that. Uhm. No. I was talking about years of research and data that I’ve been following for years. I only saw him a couple of times, but each time I saw him, he talked about putting me on statins, as well as a a procedure I also don’t need. But did we talk about my arthritis? The mystery pain in my side? Nope. So I haven’t gone back. In a small town, there are few doctors to choose from, and I have no reason to believe the others would be any different. 🙁

    1. My goodness!! It’s very hard to lose a trusted doctor. These days, as you know, even harder to find another one. I fully understand what you mean, the not listening to you. It’s so frustrating. I do everything I can to avoid family doctor appointments. I go to the clinic. I do see a pain doctor regularly. I have to. I’m alright with the np as she’s very experienced with pain and PT and natural remedies. It’s rare to find a np these days like that.

      1. Part of the problem with the NP was that she was a diabetic nurse, before hand. I had my own appointment with her (since I needed a new primary care practitioner, too), and she told me flat out that 75% of people are diabetic. Took one look at me and had me “diagnosed” already. Everything she did was from background surrounding diabetes care.

        The irony of that was, when my husband saw the actual diabetic nurse and she looked at his overall health, and the reason he was needing a doctor, she told him that he would not be able to control his blood sugars until his pain was under control Pain causes high blood sugar readings.

        Right now, my husband’s doctor does not want to mess with his pain meds until he gets into the pain clinic in the city. He’s been on the waiting list, just for a call to make an appointment, for more than a year now.

      2. Oh my goodness! That’s such a long time. I know I had a long wait to get into my endocrinologist when I first started going. My family doctor had to prescribe my thyroid meds until I got in. I think there must be a major shortage with endocrinologists.

      3. Oh, something else about that NP. My first appointment with her was also with my daughters; we all lost our doctor when the one we were seeing went on medical leave and didn’t come back. That appointment was fine, but when I came back alone, to get the results of standard blood work, her behaviour was completely different. It was so bad, I wrote a letter of complaint. For the longest time after that, when I accompanied my husband, she would bring in another person as an observer as soon as she saw me. Meanwhile, I had my phone set to record as soon as she came it. 🙁

  4. Boy do I know the feeling. It’s fascinating to see healthcare change so much. I remembered when doctors knew my family so well. They knew what was going on in our lives.

    I remembered how shocked I was when a recent doctor literally saw me for 2 or 3 minutes before sending in an assistant to cover the rest. As nice as she is, she just took in way too many patients!

  5. I had a group of docs I liked, including one migraine specialist, but then their hours became inconvenient for me. I decided hey if I’m gonna put up with annoying hours why not be closer to home? So, I went back to my old doc (who isn’t old), who also was my parents’ doc for a while. I feel comfortable with him. Plus, he figured out how to cure my 6-month sinus infection way back when, so he’s smart too. You want a smart one! I’m happy with him, and he has a female doc for the gyno exams so I don’t have to go somewhere else.

  6. This is so, so true!! I get so mad because it seems like our bill has more numbers on it than the time we actually spent in the doctors office. We definitely don’t get the quality care we used to get back in the day. And there are so many mistakes (careless ones) being made nowadays. I actually went home with someone else’s medical records attached to mine! I agree… gone are the good old days. Really awesome post, Laura!