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How to Deal with the Top 3 Most Problematic Patients as a Plastic Surgeon

July 8, 2018

If you are an experienced plastic surgeon, you may have had some troubles unexpectedly dumped on you in the past. To be frank, in this business, certain types of patients can be notoriously difficult to deal with. In the most extreme case, a patient in Germany committed suicide over surgery, and another went so far as to murder their physician. I've noticed three main archetypes that pose risk. Read on. 

 

3. The Neurotic

Neuroticism exists on a spectrum, and there's nothing wrong with the personality type in a vacuum, but in the context of plastic surgery, neurotic people can be difficult to handle. These people are usually honest and good-hearted, but where the issue lies is in the exaggeration of error. Neurotic people tend to get obsessive over mundane things, and I found that when it comes to the face, neurotic people's obsessive tendencies are magnified a thousand fold. These patients often expect the doctor to handle all of their internal insecurities with just a few swings of the scalpel. They expect micrometer accuracy, towards an ideal they can not even imagine, much less communicate to the surgeon.

 

Advice: Give care to these patients. Neuroticism is a harmless trait on its own; these people need some reassurance from the outside to quell their internal storm of emotions. Make sure to compliment your patients, and be sure to encourage all of your nurses to do the same. Worst case scenario, you make someone's day, best case scenario, it's legal insurance.

 

2. The Manipulator

It is no secret that big sums of money are thrown around during these operations, and certain greedy individuals will try to get their hands on a piece of pie that doesn't belong to them. I am talking about the manipulator. These people will be apathetic on the surface, sometimes even cheerful, but behind their facade is greed and malice. These are the type of patients that request to be released early, or refuse to come in for a touch-up, and then the next time you see them is in court.

 

Advice: Be very careful. One lawsuit can costs you a not-so-small fortune, and your reputation can go down the drain. The best way to deal with these people is to make sure you follow every procedure exactly by the letter. Meticulously dot all your i's and cross all your t's, and the law can do little to harm you. 

 

1. The Psychotic

Be wary of the patients who enter your practice with a perfectly sculpted nose and a gloomy outlook on life. Unlike the other two archetypes, this one can have motives based on realities that can't even begin to make sense. Unpredictable and potentially unstable, use your medical discretion when deciding to operate on these types; a wrong decision can cost more than some money or some headaches.

 

Advice: Pre-screen all of your patients carefully. With experience, you will be able to pinpoint this archetype with accuracy. It's perfectly okay to have a conversation with your patients before putting them under the knife. You can never be too careful, and a short exchange of words could save lives.

 

If you are a surgeon and want to avoid any grievances with your patients, make sure to recommend proper maintenance with Doctor CO Eyewear. 

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