From Slavery To Present: Why Blacks Distrust Healthcare Pt. 3

It is more a matter of showing a positive attitude during brief encounters with the patient rather than spending lengthy periods discussing medical matters. It is also important to show respect for the patient’s intelligence and point of view, as well as for his family’s wishes. Above all, the doctor must be sure to explain to the patient how he plans to treat the illness, the likely consequences of that treatment, and the importance of being compliant with the medication which the physician has judiciously chosen.

Many times, trust which has been established breaks down. We will now analyze the reasons for this.

 IV. Losing Trust

 Although the patient may not express it verbally, he or she may lose trust in the doctor. It is difficult to determine in every instance why this occurs, but the symptoms and signs may be apparent. The best example of a loss of trust is when the patient stops coming to the doctor. This is an overt signal that something is wrong and needs to be followed up. Often it is caused by a breakdown of those principles mentioned above on building and maintaining trust. Perhaps the office staff did something which the patient felt was embarrassing or demeaning, and rather than facing the staff again, the patient decides not to return.

Or perhaps it was something that the doctor did or did not do, such as not explaining to a young black male with hypertension that the powerful anti-hypertensive medications which he is taking may cause him to experience sexual dysfunction. These are elements which can destroy the faith and trust that were painstakingly constructed, which leads to a situation potentially harmful to the patient from not taking his prescribed medications, and diminishes the doctor’s status in the eyes of the patient.