“Hate” is a strong word to describe how a doctor may feel towards a particular patient. In general, a patient seeks a doctor’s care for guidance in achieving/maintaining wellness and disease prevention, and for specific treatments when particular problems arise. In this setting, the partnership is usually a productive one. Patients generally mean well, even if they hang onto bad health habits (smoking, obesity), are unpleasant to be around (smelly, dirty), or are non-compliant with their doctor’s recommendations. Patient shortcomings are a source of frustration for providers, but typically don’t compel the doctor to develop ill feelings toward the patient.
Conversely, it is also important for doctors not to cause patients to ‘hate’ the doctor. This is best achieved when the doctor appropriately honors the doctor-patient relationship (sometimes called a covenant). In medical school, we are taught the importance of the doctor-patient relationship. Doctors have a fiduciary responsibility to their patient – that is to make recommendations, prescribe medications, and perform procedures which are in the best interest of the patient, and which will help each patient attain their health care goals. Success is defined by the patient – which arises from each persons culture background, biases and tastes, and personal priorities. The Gold Rule says “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” While the Golden Rule is an excellent guide, in fact the Platinum Rule better applies to the doctor-patient relationship. The platinum rules says “Do unto others as they would have done unto themselves.” The platinum rule is more outwardly focused. Using the Platinum Rule, we are not asking ourselves what we want and then assuming the other person (out patient) would want the same thing.
That said, things that may cause a doctor to ‘dislike’ or even ‘hate’ a patient include:
1) when the patient is rude or disrespectful,
2) when the patient is a know-it-all,
3) when a patient argues with a doctor based on what they have read on the internet,
4) when a patient threatens to sue a doctor,
5) when a patient is inappropriate, such as making a sexual advance towards a doctor.
In these settings, it may be appropriate for a doctor to end the patient-doctor relationship, advising the patient to seek care elsewhere. Hopefully this occurs before ‘hate’ develops or legal complications arise.