What doctors don’t tell you is only part of the story what patients don’t tell doctors needs airing, too. What I did not tell the doctors today in the hospital I attended is that I was very angry at the lack of respect for me as a human being and a

I put down my bags and was asked to take off all my top clothes. I could see three men looking at me, one a doctor. For a brief moment I hesitated, then turned to the wall, removed my clothes and walked bare topped to the raised plinth and got on to it.

During the subsequent procedure, I wondered at the sheer insensitivity, and whether I was the only woman patient who registered anger and humiliation. My anger resulted in a determination that I would lie very still, and be very calm.

No one appreciated the remark that I felt like a stripper and that this was the very worst part of the event for me. Two male radiologists carefully measured me and explained what was going on, while I lay like a reversed turtle, with my arms up in the air behind my head, holding on to a bar. I told myself that they did not really see me at all, I was just a body to them, and I could remove myself mentally.

What had I wanted that I did not get? I would have greatly appreciated being given a robe and a chance to strip off alone.

I want to wave a flag for human rights, the right to be treated with dignity, and I do not consider that I was. Discounting people’s right to privacy and dignity in the name of therapeutic procedures seems totally aggressive and unnecessary.

I suppose I can look forward to all sorts of feelings during the six weeks I have to attend daily for radiotherapy. I can see that I have to cultivate a tough exterior, and grit my teeth and just get on with it. After all, I am only a patient. V S L, London…….

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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