Surgeon snapped at me for crying during consultation

A very bad day today, I went to my surgeon to hopefully get to,the bottom of my worsening pain.

Initially the consultation was going well, was in a lot of pain from just travelling there,tears in my eyes and he noted that my weight had gone up, I explained due to pain I was unable to train but keeping an eye on my food intake.He said. He will do another endoscopy on the disc above the fusion to see if was the one causing me so much pain.i was explaining that the pain is so bad and unable to sleep and I am not a dad or husband in tears when he suddenly said do not ever do this in front of me again,I am here to treat you, do not do this meaning crying in front of him can leave now and he passed my paperwork to the nurse who also tried to hurry me along, I could not due to the pain. I was shocked at his outburst and was saying am sorry but I am in a lot if pain and worried. I intend to write to him to find out why such an outburst on a patient in his care.any thoughts on my horrible experience.I spoke to a staff nurse who advised me to write the surgeon about how I feel about his outburst, I do not want to complain but let him know I was disappointed at his outburst against a vulnerable patient.i also will like him to carry out the discography procedure as he used that to find the the pain source the last time.Any thoughts?

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35 Replies

  • Thoughts?! I am in the US, first of all, so I know we can do things differently on this side of the pond. I cannot express my anger at the fact that a doctor/surgeon would ever treat a patient in pain like that. I am assuming you are male? Not that it matters, but could it be that that the idiot who is your surgeon has a "thing" about men who cry? Again, there is absolutely excuse for that, you should NOT have to apologize, and you SHOULD complain to anyone who will listen to you! If you were in the US, I would have you writing to the America Medical Association and report him. The Hippocratic oath is universal, "First do no harm", and he clearly has forgotten the oath he took in medical, school. That would never be tolerated by me over here in the US, trust me! I am a pain patient, have had 3 back surgeries and 2 neck surgeries, have spinal stenosis plus suffer from severe Restless Legs Syndrome and insomnia, to name a few things. Am recovering from my last surgery right now. I am afraid that I can picture myself punching someone if they ever treated me the way you were treated. It just would not b allowed, morally or legally. You do need make your feelings known to that surgeon and anyone else you can! I know how hard it is for you to switch doctors/surgeons over there, too. So, I am very angry ,and it is inhumane treated that way, period! Those are my thoughts, and I only had one doctor who gave me kind of a hard time, and he never did again, trust me. I wish you good luck, and you must stand up for yourself! :)

  • Thanks nightdancer.

    I am rather angry, I am thinking maybe to pursue a grievance procedure against him.Nothing wrong with a grown man in pain crying.maybe have another surgeon do my procedure. However do not want love possible op delayed.

  • Thanks p1pp1ns,

    I will contact the Patient and Liason service team tomorrow, thanks again.

  • Thanks so much, I want to prevent him from doing that to another patient.

  • Hi sorry to hear about your syptoms and pain, i had a similar experience with my ex consultant. When i finally got a diagnosis i asked him what happens next his reply, "i don't know" I then asked him what he was going to do,"he said what do you want me to do?" He really didn't want to know, i'd got my diagnosis now go away. He really was awful, he's a professor now Mmmmmm......take you in s/yorks could be same man

  • Hi docnai,

    Thanks, seems some surgeon can be very mean and unfeeling. Based in the South East, so probably not the same man. Want to make sure another person does not go through that kind of behaviour.

  • Thats awful. I wouldn't write directly to the surgeon, but do the letter with the help of PALS (or the CAB NHS liaison person if you are in Scotland) - you need the patient advice person to help you write it in the right words so your letter gets taken seriously. There is no way they should talk like that to a patient.

  • Thanks earthwitch, very grateful,for your advise will get in touch with PAL as I am based in South East.No patient should go through that kind of behaviour.

  • Hi fedupwithmybackpain

    I am in total agreement that no doctor, surgeon, Mr. or Professor should treat any patient in their care with any form of disrespect as it is after all the patient who pays their wages.

    Please if you see him again take someone with you and if possible record the meeting, you have to disclose the recording apparently but it will help serve to temper his temper.

    Sorry you have had to endure this action from any doctor is utterly despicable.

    Take care and kindest regards


  • Hi Terry thanks, great idea will make sure someone else is with me from now on.

  • Just to add - always take another person with you. Apart from giving you moral support and maybe remembering what surgeon said - they will be witness as to way you are treated.

    Pat x

  • Thanks Pat x

  • I would talk to my GP tell them how you feel, and ask to be referred to a human being next time! He was out of order speaking to you like that, but I wouldn't waste my time on him, vote with your feet!

  • Thanks Fern369, I am waiting for a call back from my GP as I am in too much pain to go to the surgery. I will explain what the surgeon did to me in full to the GP

  • I am really shocked by this - how horrible!! Please do complain and ask your GP if they can refer you to someone else. Tell them you are in severe pain and you need an urgent referral. Perhaps the GP can help you with extra pain meds, until you can see a consultant? I am so sorry that you've had to go through this. Really unacceptable!

  • Thanks Kat3, will ask the GP to see if my case can be moved to another surgeon.

  • Really sorry to hear about your horrific ordeal, this doctor should not be practising if he does not know how to deal with patients sympathetically. I have recently had a bad ordeal myself. I had waited for 10 months for an appointment with the local pain clinic. I explained that I had been to the chronic fatigue clinic and he suggested that I go back there, I explained that they were not a pain clinic and was hoping for some support and advice. I could tell he was not interested so I started to cry and just could not stop. He then went on to say "How long have you been ill" and when I said 29 years he said "What do you do all day" His attitude was dreadful. I could not stop crying for about 3 days and the ordeal put me into a relapse. I too am going to contact PAL to complain about this doctor. Good luck with your complaint you did not deserve to be treated in such a manner.

  • Thanks ElaineB53,

    I am sorry to hear that you have experienced similar thing, I will put a complaint in once love op has been done as I am in too much pain to change now,but in touch with PALS after the op and put my complaint in I am very angry at being treated in such a shabby manner by someone in a position of trust.

  • I would have mustered all of the strength and punched him. That is assault on a patient.

    Something is really wrong with the surgeon. I would do as the others said on here to bring him to justice. Feel Better Soon!

  • Thanks Brett85

    I am going to,put in a complaint with PALS after the op as the pain is so unbearable. But definitely putting in a complaint.

  • That Doc needs refresher course in 'Bedside Manners 101'!!

  • Sadly there appears to be many Doctors working for our NHS with an attitude problem, I have had similar treatment from my usual Respiratory Consultant, when I mentioned that the inhaler I had been prescribed was giving me unbearable side effects, he replied that I should just get on with it and put up with side effects, I was so taken aback I didn't reply, and I am still struggling with side effects which ruin the quality of my life! One thing that is for sure I would not allow any Doctor who treated me with disrespect Operate on me, I would rather be in pain with my arthritis than let them near me.

  • Thanks Fern369

    I want nothing to do with him, but I need the op so will put a complaint in with PALS after the op. In the meantime I go to any meeting with him with someone else coming with me.

  • Utterly appalling! I cannot get my head around how somebody can work in a "caring" job, yet be unable to deal with natural human emotions! If you were in pain, and tired after travelling - as well as maybe anxious about the outcome of your consultation and treatment - it is perfectly possible that this could make you cry. Male or female! People cry for numerous reasons - hurt, upset, pain, fatigue, weariness, frustration, humiliation, worry... Each and every one of these is a valid reason for tears - and a combination of them could also be the case. Clearly, you felt somewhat emotional during the consultation; for whatever reason. And why not? After all, this is YOUR body, and YOUR life - and YOUR illness affects it!

    I tell you this because I have had similar experiences as a patient - and I was once a healthcare professional (sadly I now sometimes feel ashamed to admit that!). I have experienced extremely insensitive treatment, and can only assume that it comes from staff who are both ignorant, and arrogant. There are some people who work in jobs for which they are NOT really suited! They DO NOT really empathise with patients, or care, or listen - they just want to have a regular wage, get promotions, and have power.

    I have worked with patients and their families who have been in tears; as well as patients and families who have been angry and shouted at me. Sometimes, it is hard not to take it personally. Maybe that's what YOUR Doctor/Surgeon did? However, rather than take it personally, I find the best thing to do is to ask yourself what is going on for that person - and ASK THE PATIENT what is going on, and what can be done to help. Put yourself in the patient's position - accept they may be scared, uncertain, frustrated, worn out, in pain. Accept that their actions are a result of this - and NOTHING personal.

    You have had a negative experience, and it was NOT your fault. Remember that. DO NOT feel guilty. You are right to want to make sure that this never happens again to another patient. The advice to talk to PALS is a very good idea - they can help you to think about how best to address the situation. If you consider writing a letter of complaint, you could ask for help from PALS. It would be a good idea to copy any letter written - one copy for your own records, one copy to your Doctor/Surgeon, one copy to PALS, and one to the Hospital Complaints Department (ensuring NO confusion). If a meeting is ever arranged to rasolve your issues - take somebody for "moral support", take notes, and do not alow yourself to feel pressured.

    In the meantime, DO go see your G.P. and explain why you wish to ask for a second opinion from a different Doctor/Surgeon - ask that you are referred to someone new, because after this incident, you have lost confidence in your current Dr/Surgeon. You have a right to be treated as an individual, with dignity and respect. You need to receive treatment - but from someone you can trust. For more information on your rights as a patient, see the NHS Patient Constitution, at...

    I hope that you are able to find a satisfactory resolution - and move on to getting the care and treatment you so need and deserve.

    Best wishes,


  • Thanks Scooteeder,

    I feel quite sad,that he let himself down by shouting at me.I will talk to my GP and see if it is best to have the op as planned sooner rather than later as the pain is unbearable and have the op now but put a complaint in afterwards, as advised by PALS. Will in the meantime go to the next scheduled appointment with someone ekes coming with me,after the op I will request for a different surgeon.

  • And here I rest my case! Your response would seem proof positive that you are NOT a silly, over-emotional person!

    If anything, you come across as rational and organised. You have identified your pressing need to have surgery as your common-sense priority. After which, you have stated a desire to address the issue of a complaint to the Hospital; as well as a G.P. referral to a different Dr/Surgeon. You have accepted the need for assistance (i.e. from PALS), and "moral support" - you have agreed to take somebody with you to your next appointment. To be honest - THAT all sounds like a perfectly "workable" solution, to me. I would think that other readers would also see you as having a sensible strategy.

    See? Perhaps all you needed was a "sounding board" - a solution was already there in your head. You just needed to double-check that it was accurate - after having your confidence dented by a nasty experience.

    I wish you well - and good luck with the surgery. I do hope that things work out right in the end.

    Take care,


  • Thanks Scooteeder, yes it really is great having this forum as a sounding Board to see if I was thinking along the correct lines,I hope and pray that we all get our pain issues resolved thanks.

  • You should not have been treated like this, and I'm sorry that you were. Don't write to the surgeon, he will probably not bother to respond. Write to the hospital and complain that way, then it is all official. You should also say how the nurse's attitude made you feel. Making a complaint should not affect any treatment that you need.

    Unfortunately, there are people out there, health workers included, who don't deal sympathetically with either pain or tears. There is no need for this, because there are also those - surgeons included - who are fantastic and treat us with total respect and sympathy.

    We do not complain enough. I complained today about a minor issue in my local outpatient department, and although I don't like making a fuss the staff hadn't realised it was a problem until then. If no one complains about this surgeon's attitude nothing will get done.

    I've read some of your other posts and I hope you start to feel some relief soon.

  • Thanks teadrinker,

    I will be making a complaint about the surgeon after he has done the op and I will change to a different Surgeon after that.I do not want anyone else to go through the same bad treatment.hoping to get a little bit of a relief soon thanks.

  • Hello, am more than shocked at the response, sometimes the only occasion to let the 'tears flow is when talking to the Dr' I along with many others hide the pain and despair from loved ones. I would be mortified if that happened to me whilst explaining my condition. I do agree with advice given to you, complain to the powers that be, change your surgeon ! What a disgrace.

    I wish you well,


  • Thanks Backisbad,I am working on changing the surgeon.

  • i was utterly shocked to read you have been treated so badly the pain wears you down and you can only stand so much this sugeon clearly can't deal with patients unless they are a robot without feelings,pals are very good with helping you make a complaint.

  • Thanks lilian68, I am I the process of making a complaint about the surgeon.

  • No excuse really for that. If he's not comfortable with emotional people, and I'm sure he meets many, he could at least suggest and arrange some emotional support for you.

    In an attempt to understand this, Usually when people lash out, it has nothing to do with tbe person or the situation. It's something totally unrelated. He may be having problems at work, or home and you got the bullet. But he is a professional and should be professional enough to leave these things outside his surgery door.

    Even if that is the case, there is no excuse for it. It does need to be reported, carefully and correctly with some help from the agencies suggested.

    Try not to worry about it. You Are the better person here and very much in touch with your emotions. We ladies love that in guys :)

  • Thanks Zanna :)

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