‘I would rather not give you my number, but I ll always be in the clinic, at office hours, if you need to see me’. This is the common response patients get when ever they request for the number of their doctor. Is it out of pride, that doctors give this response? Is it out of disdain or neglect?
Some patients find it hard understanding that doctors also have personal lives, social life, family life etc. I know that doctors, sometimes let other aspects of their life to ‘suffer’ for the good of the patient. Some doctors even go out of the way to sacrifice some of their finances and time, out of official time, so that patients can be happy.
Long sleepless nights, away from the warm comfort of a home, standing long hours doing ward rounds or surgeries, listening to the litany of symptoms everyday from patients, to mention but a few, yet doctors have to bear all this without a grudge or complaint. By training or out of personal dispositions, doctors love to do all this.
Buy what happens when a doctor decides to have a ‘personal’ time, away from work? What do doctors face after office hours? Can you imagine the number of calls that a doctor may get from patients from even trivial symptoms? Some doctors may get on with these calls, others cannot tolerate it. So, get to know why your doctor would not give out his private number. But most younger doctor may readily give out their contacts, since they are of ‘The Jet Age’.
On the other hand you could request for the official phone number of the clinic or hospital, or you could request for his email or social media handle.
You should understand your doctor’s personality and tag along with this understanding. I would normally advice that patients expect the best from every doctor, this is normally what the doctor sets out to render, the best. But you should also get prepared for some, however rare, discordant behaviours and attitude from your doctor. He/She is after all human!!!