This week I had my first patient walk out on me! Last year we did communications exercises where a simulated patient walked out on me. That was shocking and I really wasn't sure how to react. Sadly, I didn't learn anything from the exercise because I still had no idea what to do. Fiddle for an apology? We (my assistant, the assisting student, and the center aisle assistant) were all shocked.
The patient was upset when she was asked if she has any trouble with abuse at home. This is a standard question for patients at this clinic. Then, when I got started, she kept asking if I had the right tooth. We told her we would need to use a rubber dam (a stretchy piece of latex that goes over the teeth to keep them dry --we call them a "raincoat' with kids). My instructor started talking to me about a root canal on another patient and she got confused and thought the rubber dam had something to do with the root canal. I tried to explain that it had nothing to do with the complexity of the procedure, it was just a tool to help us get it done.
She had a difficult time opening wide enough for me to put the clamp on her tooth that holds the rubber dam in place. When I put it on, it pinched her gums (common but usually goes away in a few seconds). However, she kept complaining. I decided to numb her palate to make her more comfortable and she really did not like that. For whatever reason, I strayed from my habits and didn't warn her before hand. She scolded me for doing so. After some fiddling, we got the RD on. By now, she was fuming and told us to take it off. We reminded her we needed it for our treatment. She angrily demanded we remove it as she was leaving.
So, we did.
Oops. I don't know what went wrong!