Sunday, April 26, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

How’s the décor at your doctor’s office?

MarionFranckW

By
From page A8 | February 10, 2013 |

I am at the office of a new doctor, a specialist who will give me his opinion on something important, although not life-threatening.

The wait has been long, but finally the nurse calls me in, settles me into an examination room and leaves.

I glance around. The examination table, with stirrups, looks older than I am. The linoleum floor has scuffs dating from the era when my children dropped things. There is no computer. One small counter is covered with boxes and bottles.

This could be a 1960s movie set.

My eyes linger on the only wall decoration: a poster labeled “Breast Cancer” with drawings of the interior of the breast as it deteriorates in stages I-IV. I guess the doctor uses this visual aid when talking to some patients, but since I’m not here for breast cancer, it only reminds me of the suffering of other women — and my mother’s death.

I continue to wait in solitary confinement. My eyes keep going back to that poster.

“Let me out of here!” I want to scream.

————

A few days later, my friend Alice tells me about her recent visit to an imaging facility in El Dorado County for a “call back” mammogram.

She is directed to a tiny changing room where the only decoration is a framed document from www.thebreastcancersite.com. In bold print it states, “Every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer,” followed by other alarming statistics.

Because she has been “called back,” Alice can’t help but imagine herself as the next one to be diagnosed. Then she thinks about the document.

“This is not a women’s gym where it might be good to remind people to have a mammogram,” she says. “Women are already here.”

Why scare them further?

After she changes, she moves to the waiting area which offers a different kind of “sales.” It features a poster explaining why the type of mammogram offered at this facility is better than the alternative. An enlarged image of breast tissue, labeled with medical terms, is used to point out differences. Unless you have technical knowledge of mammography, the poster is incomprehensible.

It hangs on a wall painted pink. Pink ribbons abound in the room.

Alice says, “I suppose in their minds they think this is positive, but to me it was all about cancer.”

————

From these two incidents (Alice did not have cancer), a column was born in my head, and I asked other friends for input. From their outpouring I learned two things.

First, not all doctors are deaf and dumb to the wordless impact made by their waiting and examining rooms. Several people described offices with warm colors, train sets and pleasant posters. Some facilities in Davis get high marks.

My friend Dick from up north wrote, “My last doctor, who just retired, was an avid outdoorsman and environmentalist. He had beautiful photographs of central Oregon on his walls. I miss him.”

A friend who is a physician told me she puts pictures of kittens on the ceiling above her examining table and finds they generate friendly conversations that begin with, “Oh look, kittens” or “I have 4 cats” or “I like dogs.”

————

The majority of responses, however, told me that bad decor is widespread and can turn you cynical.

My son-in-law, who recently visited a Chicago-area opthalmologist for eyelid problems, wrote, “He had gross pictures of worst-case-scenario eyelid infections. That’s probably intended to make you feel better about your own problems. Or maybe to get more business using fear-based tactics.”

After I read his message, I remembered my visit to a Sacramento dermatologist whose waiting room posters featured aging, wrinkled faces on ads for plastic surgery.

————

With help from my friends, here are some recommendations.

Doctors, please remember that when we come to you we are sick or anxious or both. It is not reassuring to wait in a room where the furniture and magazines are so old that we begin to wonder how up-to-date the doctor is.

Don’t let your waiting room say to your patient, “Seeing the doctor is going to be a slightly miserable experience and we don’t care.”

Think about your examining room, too. We understand that you may want to point to illustrations. But keep in mind that for every person who wants to see exactly what stage IV colon cancer looks like, dozens of other patients see it, too.

As my friend Sue put it, “the goal should always be to make the patient comfortable and relaxed in the waiting room and exam rooms.” Hang serene posters on the wall. Save the rest for brochures.

Above all, give décor some thought. You probably aren’t very good at decorating — that’s why you went to medical school — but someone on your staff knows more than you do.

Respect that person. Respect your patients.

————

One friend responded to my inquiry with a description of what she saw on the wall of her veterinarian.

It was a cartoon of a receptionist saying, “The doctor is with another patient; so please sit and stay.”

Humor, anyone?

— Marion Franck lives in Davis with her family. Reach her at [email protected]

Comments

comments

.

News

 
 
Davis team wins world robotics championship

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Nepal quake death toll exceeds 1,800

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
At the Pond: Plenty of pleasures in our bioregion

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Rail-safety bill passes Senate committee

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Pioneering organic chef presents her memoir Monday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Suspect in UCD assault arrested

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

Dog park marks anniversary with cleanup

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Watch them in action

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5

Stocks rise on tech earnings; Nasdaq adds to record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Dodd speaks as part of public policy series

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

We did it (together)!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

 
$2.72 million judgment ordered against Dollar Tree Stores

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

UCD hosts bike auction Saturday, May 2

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Fly Fishers to hear about advanced streamer tactics on Tuesday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Bicycle activist will speak Monday at Hall of Fame

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

Those texts still linger

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

 
New ways of giving locally and beyond

By Marion Franck | From Page: B6

 
Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

 
Poker proceeds help youths

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

Invest in water of the future

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
Water, water everywhere?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

Mayor’s Corner: A spirit of renewal permeates Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

 
More work to do for a safe Picnic Day

By Our View | From Page: A12

Anaheim, where The Force is with you

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
.

Sports

Davis gets two baseball wins in two days

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

 
Grizzlies dominate young Blue Devils on Senior Night

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Energy, fan-friendly happenings highlight UCD spring football game

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Blue Devil golfers capture CAL Invitational title

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

UCD roundup: Aggies reach water polo semifinals

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
Blue Devil swimmers are up to the challenge

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Babich brings the heat as DHS girls stick it to Oak Ridge

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

 
DHS softball struggles continue against Sheldon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

History comes alive in ‘The Sacramento Picture’

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A7

 
Big Italian food, sports bar to fill Little Prague

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Davis Roots hires new general manager

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Comcast announces speed upgrade

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
.

Obituaries

 
Whitney Joy Engler

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Valente Forrest Dolcini

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 26, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8