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Inside Health Care: Who ARE you anyway, Doctor?

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Pediatric specialist, Dr. Bryan Vartabedian MD, writes about a time when he forgot to introduce himself to a new patient.. Ten minutes into the visit, the mother asks, 'I'm sorry, and you are?...' Rarely does Dr. Vartabedian forget to introduce himself and neglect to wear his ID badge. Like many physicians, he does not wear a white coat, and a colleague once described him as looking like an algebra teacher. He was surprised that the mother did not ask sooner for his identity and recommends that patients should always know who they are working with. Likewise, providers should be diligent with introducing themselves and wearing identification. Have you found yourself in a similar situation in the doctor's office?

On the Patient Empowerment Blog, Trisha Torrey recognizes the problem with the lack of identification in the clinical setting, and reflects deeper on the issue of patient safety. She says nametags are a good start, but they may not be revealing enough. She cites the shocking case of Lewis Blackman, who was treated by a resident or student doctor and died from improper care. She advises people that it's okay to ask the position of the clinician and encourages that the distinction between doctors and students be made clear.

For more information, please consult our two recent Prepared Patient feature articles designed to help you understand who is providing your care: Your Doctor's Office Demystified and In Case of Emergency: Who's Who in the ER.

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