Etiquette : The Doctor-Patient Relationship
Each doctor has their own style in consultation and patients can be sensitive and vulnerable especially when body image is under the microscope which is why I think it’s very important to immediately establish trust and mutual respect with my patients, whether it’s an initial consult or a long-time patient whose personality and preferences I’ve come to know.
There are basic rules of etiquette that should be observed between the doctor and patient and many patients don’t know what they should expect or tolerate.
First and foremost, I want to get to know my patients. I genuinely enjoy the varied personalities and interests of each individual. An extensive medical history is then obtained, followed by a physical exam of the area of concern.
Plastic surgery consultations often involve changing into a gown so that a proper examination and assessment can be made. Patients are granted privacy to do so and get comfortable in the environment.
As doctors, most of us understand that there is a vulnerability factor and sometimes embarrassment on the patient’s behalf. It may also help the patient to know that while I’m going to give an honest assessment and strategy, you shouldn’t feel judged—we do, in fact, see the human body all the time, in every shape and form. A nurse chaperone is always present during the exam. We are always sensitive to the patients privacy.
If you and your plastic surgeon decide to move forward “before” and “after” photos are necessary for both sides to feel comfortable with the expectations and results. However, you shouldn’t feel obligated to take photos before you’ve committed to a procedure nor can any photographs be published without your express written consent. You should expect to be treated with dignity, respect and professionalism.