Often two or three different doctors would ask the same questions in one day. Once the doctor had finished asking his or her questions, they showed little or no interest in us. It felt like we were rare birds in a zoo, not people who had gone to a hospital for treatment. It took years for us to understand that we were viewed as subjects for research. We were offering a short cut for doctors who didn’t want to use the medical library.
Bill started responding with “Are the answers to your questions going to help you treat me or are you asking me because you need to learn?” He didn’t say this with a sarcastic tone of voice; he simply wanted the inquisitive doctor to be honest.
Like many people we wanted to be of help in educating doctors. We weren’t acknowledged for providing a service; instead we were expected to respond to questions that seemed irrelevant, even foolish, before we could receive medical attention. It seemed as if the priorities were upside down.