Dr. Robert Lieberson Blog

Ci·vil· I ·ty; səˈvilədē/; noun; formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech.

Dr. Robert Lieberson

This is Dr. Robert Lieberson Blog.

Dr. Robert Lieberson asks if civility is dead “inside the beltway”? Politics to the contrary, no.

Dr. Robert Lieberson is privileged to be working as a doctor at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC.  However, Every morning when I walk in, the receptionists in the lobby say “good morning” and “have a nice day.”

If I am running for an elevator, somebody invariably holds the door. On rounds, my residents say “sir,” “please,” “thank you,” and “how else may I help.” Our patients are treated wonderfully, and in return, they are uniformly appreciative.

Their oral “thank yous” are frequently followed with handwritten thank-you notes after discharge.

Civility is in danger elsewhere. As some doctors rush to see as many patients per hour as possible and patients are forced to “demand” or “plead” for care, physicians and their patients have become adversaries.

It has been said that of the three–quality, cost, and convenience–one can only get two. In many places, doctors have been ordered to lower costs and improve convenience.

We are mandated to at least pay lip service to quality.

To fulfill the mandate, doctors see patients as fast as possible, and accountants document quality-of-care metrics. It just isn’t working.

While doctors and their statisticians can claim higher satisfaction rates and mathematical evidence of “quality,” real quality has suffered.

We may be efficiently following the correct care guidelines, but many of us are rushed and brusk.

We are not providing the compassionate caring our patients need. In many places, doctors are no longer seen as trustworthy advocates.

Doctors–let’s return civility to medicine. Slow down. Say “sir,” “good morning,” “please,” and “thank you.” Stop and ask your patients, “how else may I help”?

The bean-counter’s metrics will probably suffer, and administrators may admonish you for failing to meet your contractual earnings goals.

You will, however, receive gratitude from the only people who matter–your patients. Dr. Robert Lieberson.

Dr. Robert Lieberson Blog.