“Where is my doctor when I need him the most?”

Change is inevitable. Sometimes you like the way things change; sometimes you don’t. Like it or not, the way medicine is practiced in the United States is changing. Today, I am talking about one specific trend that has left many patients wondering, “Where is my doctor when I need him the most?”

You develop a good relationship with a doctor over many years and visit him on a regular basis to renew that relationship. Is it too much to expect the doctor to be there when you are in trouble?

Many patients find out the truth the hard way. 

You have been doing well and like the way your doctor is managing your problems. One day, you get very sick and call your doctor. Your doctor is worried about your condition and tells you go to the emergency room. They diagnose you with a serious medical problem and admit you to the hospital. They ask your doctor’s name and send you up to the medical floor.  You anxiously wait there for your doctor to talk to you because you trust him to make the right decision for you.

To your disappointment, someone else shows up and tells you that your doctor does not come to the hospital anymore.

This is a new trend with many hospitals and is spreading rapidly throughout the country. Many family doctors and primary care doctors are not seeing patients in the hospital anymore. They contract it out to a new breed of doctors called the Hospitalists. 

Hospitalists have been around for more than 10 years now and most medical practitioners are now familiar with them but it is still a very new concept with the patients.

For you, it is still hard to believe that your trusted doctor would send someone else to see you when you need him the most. The hospitalist does not know your medical history the way your doctor does. The hospitalist does not know how you respond to different treatments. The hospitalist does not know what normally works for you. Above all, the hospitalist does not know you as a person and that makes it hard for you to trust the hospitalist the way you trust your own doctor.

Have you been disappointed to see a hospitalist instead of your own doctor? Have you felt like your doctor abandoned you by letting the hospitalist take over your care?

Please share your comments and questions here. 

Do not hesitate to share your negative feelings towards hospitalists just because I am a hospitalist myself. Yes, I have been working as a hospitalist for seven years and I can attest that all of the concerns I have written in this article about hospitalists are true and valid. Personally, I accept those facts and accept those challenges. When I am able to take good care of a patient and make him/her happy with the care despite all the odds, it makes my job worth it.

Unfortunately, this is the new reality of healthcare and it is better to know how to navigate your care in this new environment and look at the bright sides. Yes, there are good aspects about the hospitalist model of care but they are hard to see. Based on your comments and concerns I will write a few more articles on this topic and help you make the best of the new reality.