Thursday, February 27, 2014

When you are unable to help your patient

When this happens in my practice I become very  frustrated. 

First I try everything that I've been taught to do. Then I spend countless hours trying to figure out a treatment that I haven't been taught to do that may help. 

When I am out of ideas I do the following:

- I am honest with my patient 
- I apologize for not being able to resolve their problem 
- I refer them to someone who I think can 

Many years ago I had to have this conversation with a particular patient who I felt needed an internal coccyx mobilization.  At the time did not know how to perform one so I explained to the patient that I did not know how to perform a particular treatment that might be of benefit to her and provided her with the contact information a therapist who could help.  I explained that I felt that we had reached a plateau in our treatment and I didn't feel that I could progress her any further at this time. 

Years later I ran into her again and when she saw me she smiled and happily stated "You were the only one who ever admitted that they couldn't help me". In other words, she respected my honesty. 

Some good  things happened; 
I learned how to perform an internal coccyx mobilization and after I learned this technique, I gave her a call and explained that I had been taught some new things since we had last worked together and would she be willing to let me try to help her again.  

As a result she became one of  my best sources of patient referral.