A patient filled out a complaint form asking to leave my practice and gave it to an office administrator.
I was asked to "sign-off" on the complaint (as is always our practice).
It stated that he wanted to transfer to a partner since I always spent time telling him about my problems.
I had no comment since I wasn't sure what he was talking about.
It just so happened that, soon after requesting to transfer, he came in for an acute medical concern and my partner was on vacation.
It was a little awkward seeing him but I tried to be as professional as possible.
At the end of the visit he said, "thanks for seeing me, I hope you weren't offended that I asked to transfer to your partner."
I saw my opening. "Not at all, I was just a little confused by the comment that I was always telling you about my problems. I don't know what you meant by that."
"The last time I came to see you and was concerned about a mole, you told me it was nothing to worry about and then pulled up your pant leg to show me you had the same type of mole (a seborrheic keratosis). The visit before that I was concerned about a bump under my skin and you pulled up your shirt sleeve to show me you had the same thing on your arm (a lipoma)."
"Oh, OK, thanks for the feedback."
I learn something new every day.
I'll probably not change the way I interact with folks.
I'll just always wonder if someone else is thinking the same thing, whenever I show them some of my physical exam findings, while trying to reassure them.