Saying ‘No’ to Prospective Cosmetic Medical Patients
Certainly, everyone is entitled and should have access to cosmetic medical and surgical services. However, depending on your particular risk tolerance, there are certain times when you might want to just 'pass' on treating a patient. Knowing which patients to sidestep is a gray art and is frequently based on hunches and ‘gut’ feelings. This subtle impression, as described in Malcolm Gladwell’s book 'Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking', is correct more often than not. However, there are more objective guidelines available to help decide whether or not to dance with a particular patient. Several of these tips have been developed and expounded upon in numerous papers by Dr. Mark Gorney and in the book 'The Patient and the Plastic Surgeon' by Dr. Robert Goldwyn. Consider running for the hills if:
- The patient is a SIMON – single,immature, male, overly expectant, and narcissistic. Even worse if they answer to SIMON-SLAP (SIMON + still lives at parents).
- You don’t click with the patient – or just plain dislike them
- The patient is critical of previous physicians but thinks you hung the moon.
- The patient is rude to your staff.
- The patient demands a guarantee.
- You are asked to do something you can’t deliver.
- Anyone in a hurry to have surgery – gotta do it now!
- The surgiholic patient.
- Patients wanting procedures because they are prodded by friends or family members.
- The out-of-town patient who has to bolt before you are comfortable with them leaving.
- The patient who is vague, indecisive and leaves the driving to you.
Unfortunately, patients don’t walk into your office with a label on their shirt saying ‘I’m going to be a real problem’. Listen to the voices in your head and apply the above principles. Cosmetic medicine is supposed to be fun – don’t let a rogue patient slip through the cracks and haunt you. It just isn’t worth it!