If you want to be a good doctor or surgeon, it’s not enough to be well-read and have dexterous hands. You also need a good bedside manner. In short, medical professionals need to instill trust and confidence in their patients. One way to do this is to actively listen to them to learn more about them and their bodies.

Failing to listen properly can have potentially devastating consequences, as one internet user’s story showed. Redditor u/Shadva revealed how her surgeon was unwilling to listen to her issues with her appendix, which nearly led to a health disaster. Read on for the full story. Bored Panda got in touch with the author of the story, redditor u/Shadva, and she was kind enough to share her thoughts about doctors’ (lack of) communication skills and why someone who is in pain might feel reluctant to go to the ER. You’ll find our full interview with the OP below.

One of the most important skills for any medical professional is the ability to communicate well with patients

Image credits: karrastock (not the actual photo)

One woman who went to the ER recounted how an arrogant surgeon refused to listen to what she had to say


Image credits: nodar77 (not the actual photo)


Image credits: Shadva

How someone treats their colleagues is a good indicator of them as a person

Bored Panda wanted to find out why the author thought her doctor was so unwilling to hear her out. “My personal thought was that he thought he was better than just about everyone because he was a surgeon. That opinion was backed up by both watching and hearing about his interactions with various staff,” u/Shadva shared with us.

“Before he came into my room, I actually heard him tell a nurse that their observations didn’t matter, that he was a surgeon and they were ‘just a nurse.’ Then he yelled at janitorial staff for not moving out of his way when he was coming down the hall, even though they were mopping the floor.”

Unfortunately, the OP doesn’t think that the doctor will have changed his behavior after the incident with her appendix. “I managed to show him that not everyone will tolerate bullying, even from a surgeon. I do know another doctor signed off on my discharge after a couple of days.”

According to u/Shadva, medical personnel who are unable to listen to their patients’ needs need to be made accountable for their behavior by the administrative staff. She suggested that these doctors may need a refresher course in proper communication, as well as a “stark reminder that they’re human and not a god, and in some cases may need therapy.”


The drawback is that some hospital administrators “generally ignore such behavior,” according to the OP. This means that the admins are allowing arrogant and rude behavior to go unchecked in some hospitals. However, it’s not just the medical staff that need to change how they approach things. It’s up to the patients to enforce some healthy boundaries as well.

Every patient is different, so doctors need to get to know their medical history ASAP

Image credits: Karolina Grabowska (not the actual photo)

Though communication skills are paramount for anyone working in the medical field, some professionals completely ignore them. They prioritize know-how, technical skills, and dexterity, instead.

Now, don’t get us wrong, doctors absolutely need to be knowledgeable and capable in their field. Many of us want to be looked after by someone who’s intelligent, talented, capable, and who’s able to keep calm under pressure. But if the doctor is cold rather than empathetic, something’s gone terribly wrong.

The fact of the matter is that people’s physiologies are different. Some, like the OP, have a very high tolerance for pain. Others do not. It’s only by talking to patients to learn about their medical history and any quirks their bodies might have that docs can get the full picture.

The real world is very complicated. And your patients won’t all fit the mold. Having textbook knowledge is fine and dandy. But it won’t get you out of every bad situation. Case in point, the surgeon in redditor u/Shadva’s story realized how narrowly he avoided an actual disaster with the OP’s appendix. If he’d listened to her more attentively, he would have realized how serious everything was from the get-go.


Actively listening to patients helps doctors do their jobs better

Image credits: MART PRODUCTION (not the actual photo)

Dr. John Madden, an Emergency Physician and Director of the Office of Career Guidance and Student Development at St. George’s University School of Medicine, had this to say about the importance of communication: “Being a good listener is critical to being a good doctor. Patients will tell you what’s wrong if you just let them speak.”

Meanwhile, family physician Dr. Lisa Doggett said, “They [doctors] should answer questions using language that is clear without using too much medical terminology. They should be honest but also offer hope, even when a situation is difficult. And they should help their patients feel empowered to improve their own health.”

As of October 2023, the median salary for a surgeon working in the United States is $431,265. American surgeons typically earn between $364,710 and $511,847 per year, according to Generally, these medical professionals’ salaries will depend on their work experience, their education, as well as their skills.

Meanwhile, reveals that the average surgeon’s base salary is $298,418, generally falling between $268,377 and $331,822.

If you suspect that you might have appendicitis, it’s vital that you seek medical help


Image credits: Павел Сорокин (not the actual photo)

Not many people enjoy the prospect of being rushed to the ER. Some of them might hope that their symptoms will go away on their own or think that they’re overreacting. Others don’t want to ‘bother’ the medical staff with potentially ‘small’ issues.

Still, others freeze or run away from their problems because they’re simply scared of finding out the truth.

When it comes to appendicitis, an inflammation of the appendix, it’s vital that you seek immediate medical help if you feel intense abdominal pain.

According to Mayo Clinic, appendicitis causes pain in the lower right abdomen, however, the pain starts around the belly button and then moves.

Other symptoms to look out for include nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhea, abdominal bloating, gas, fever, and pain that worsens when you walk or cough. If you suspect that you or a loved one may be dealing with appendicitis, contact your local hospital. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Patients need to learn to enforce healthy boundaries and to show that they will not be disrespected

“Patients also need to stop being afraid to advocate for themselves, both for how they’re treated as a person and how they’re treated medically.” The OP noted that many other women responded to her post and shared how often they’re either “totally ignored, or treated like their medical complaints just have to be related to our vaginas.”

Of course, not everyone feels comfortable being “brutally honest” with their doctors. Meanwhile, some patients exaggerate their symptoms. “However, too many providers just assume that almost everyone [lies] instead of working from the point of view of ‘believe, but verify.’”

Meanwhile, Bored Panda wanted to get the author’s thoughts on when somebody should go to the ER. “In a lot of cases, people don’t want to go to the ER because of cost and the only way to fix that is to either regulate it through legislation and oversight or offer universal healthcare,” she said.

“Don’t get me wrong, I don’t object to hospitals, pharma, or insurance companies making a profit, but it should be more about the patients and not completely about the bottom line. For example, without insurance, the brand name Lyrica costs between $266.38 and $1112.72, depending on the dosage and form of Lyrica you take,” she shared one example of just how expensive medicine can be.

“I know that they offer a generic version now, but even the price of pregabalin can vary depending on manufacturer, dosage, and place of purchase. Some people may be afraid of hospitals due to previous experience, such as a relative or friend going in for a ‘minor’ issue, and leaving the hospital through the morgue.”

Redditor u/Shadva continued: “For some people, it may come from being ignored or dismissed time, after time, after time. In my opinion, if they’re worried about something medically, getting advice from their primary care is a good idea, even if it’s just over the phone. If it’s an acute issue or the weekend, I’d honestly prefer that people not take chances with their lives and would just go to the ER right away.”

The internet had a lot to say about the ER situation. Here are some opinions and experiences that people shared