Bias

Today, I saw a young female who was 35 weeks pregnant. She was also a crack cocaine user.

When I see a patient like that, it’s hard not to be biased. Her clothes were unkempt, she smelled, her eyes had dark bags hanging underneath and strange mannerisms. Yet deep down, I know she was a person that deserved my help and respect, just like everyone else.

So why when I first saw her did it take several seconds to get over my prejudices? Was it because here was a women who was harming her body and baby with drugs, while so many other people desperately want a child but can’t have one due to miscarriages and infertility?

I’m confident that I’ll encounter many unpleasant people in my rotations, some downright nasty. It’s so hard to be empathetic to people who purposely harm themselves or try to use you. I can see why lots of doctors get jaded and become mistrusting. It’s part of the hidden curriculum no one ever teaches you.

I don’t really have a specific train of thought or conclusion to this post. Just a pondering from today.

One Response to Bias

  1. Xehra says:

    That’s the most difficult part about being a doctor, methinks. Appearances and attire really do matter but we have to keep our likes and dislikes aside :s

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