Patronising comments from a consultant

I was surprised when a consultant I saw recently said I was “highly intelligent” and had given and “excellent history”, only then to be told that I obviously didn’t know what was best for me because I had enquired about the value of a scan (actually I was thinking MRI but raised ultrasound initially) in diagnosing bloody nipple discharge and eczema.
I guess maybe I should have made it clear that I’d have felt more reassured if they could find no lump under the nipple…
How many others have been patronised in this way?
Call that patient care?!

My mum works in a hospital and she says that a few of the consultants in her hospital have there head up there ar*e. My consultant is a funny as hell. Can you change perhaps, it always helps to get someone you can fully trust and get on with, you need sympathy and not to be patronised, if you cant change then stand up to the little idiot, bring him down a peg or two, at the end of the day your paying his wages!!!

take care


When I was diagnosed, the bc nurse was on holiday and they had no replacement. One of the nurses who hand you your gowns as you go in, said " well, we never know what’s around the corner. You might be knocked down by a bus tomorrow." I laughed but then afterwards started to think that it was a bit tactless. The proper bc nurse described me to a new consultant as " a bit of a challenge " and the same consultant during our chat said " you musn’t forget you have a life threatening illness ", as if it had totally slipped my mind. This despite the bc nurse telling me that the lump’s gone so I’m ok now. I am so confused. Have I got breast cancer, did I have breast cancer or do I simply say that I am receiving treatment for breast cancer??? Also same bc nurse said to me " you took the dx very badly Deborah didn’t you? ". Was I supposed to whoop with joy?

Best wishes

It just goes to show that there really is such a thing as “Foot-In-Mouth-Disease”.

There’s no substitute for good nursing care and it really does make the difference in how we come to terms with and manage our condition.

Hi Puddleduck,

when I was dx in 2003 my bc surgeon sent me to what he thought was the best bc oncologist as I had concurrent Crohn’s disease. The first contretemps was over DCIS, which I had gleaned from my path report, bc surgeon hadn’t mentioned it. The Onc said it was not cancer (like my invasive ductal tumour), but pre-cancer. I argued with him, telling him I had done Latin at school and believed it meant ductal carcinoma in situ - ergo, it was cancer in the duct. Next problem was when I asked if he had treated a patient with the two concurrent diseases. He blithely said: “No, but I have treated a patient with bc and psoriasis”. Well, I have psoriasis too, and that is not as serious as Crohn’s. I then asked what he would do if I had a Crohn’s flare when on FEC chemo as he had already told me I had to stop taking my normal chemo, methotrexate, otherwise I would die of septicaemia. Just what I wanted to hear, being terrified of the cancer diagnosis. His retort was: “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it”. Fine for him, he is not the one with faeces running down his legs and having rectal haemorrhages. I truly don’t think he had a clue about Crohn’s, and was cross that I did.He then got up from the bed he was sitting on and said: “Do you want to continue this consultation?” Actually, no, I didn’t and fled the room in tears. to my husband’s utter embarrassment.

I rang my gastro and he said he couldn’t intervene in my treatment, as bc is life threatening and Crohn’s not. I did not know what to do, whether to have the FEC chemo or not. I emailed many Oncs and Gastros at major teaching hospitals in the UK and USA and although they all responded, none of them had treated a patient with both diseases. I couldn’t believe that I am the only person with Crohn’s and bc, and indeed later found an American lady on a US gastro site, who has both.

I eventually decided to have the FEC chemo, but was very worried about the Onc’s attitude to me. Perhaps he thought I was a smarty pants, but having had Crohn’s for 37 yrs, I did know what I was talking about. Next time I went to the Oncology suite I asked the receptionist if I could see anyone but the original Onc. There were no questions asked, no fuss, I was just told to go and sit in the waiting room. 15 mins later a lovely young female GP, who worked in the Onc suite one morning a week, called me into a private room, never mentioned Dr. K, and we sorted out my treatment. I had dexamethasone daily during the 4 months of chemo, and she arranged for me to have cartons of Frutijuice from the hospital pharmacy sent to my home. I was unable to eat any solid food for 4 months, but this juice stuff kept me alive, even thought I lost 28 lbs.

The moral of this long story (sorry for the length) is that you should not have to put up with arrogant, patronising doctors. We have a serious life threatening disease, and should be entitled to compassionate and knowledgeable care. If you continue to feel uneasy with your Onc, ask the receptionists or bc nurses if you can change.

Take care,

Well said Liz. I must toughen up a bit