Looking for Trust

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Lookingfor Trust

Heidiand her father experienced what hinders the effective delivery ofhealth-the lack of trustworthy doctors. One day, Heidi’s fathernoticed that his seventeen-year-old daughter suffered from smallrashes on her right side of the face. It was at night, which impliesthat they had to look the nearest health care facility. Heidi and herfather were among the 55 % uninsured and 4 % of Americans whodeliberately refuse to seek for medical attention because its cost isbeyond their reach (Kaiser Family Foundation 1). However, the severepain that Heidi felt forced them to look for medical care in thenearest private pharmacy within the same night.

Totheir surprise, no health care professional in the EmergencyDepartment paid attention to them. Heidi’s father was frustratedand had to request for help from a doctor who was passing by. Thedoctor looked at the rashes on Heidi’s face and told her fatherlethargically that she was suffering from shingles. The doctor said,“She was somehow exposed to a varicella-zoster virus”. The healthcare professional added with no effort to provide assistance, “Thereis really no cure for this. I can give her medications, but that’sall I can do”. The doctor’s statement was discouraging, and thetwo had to wait until the next morning in order to look for anotherhealth care provider since they could not trust the physician whotold them that he could nothing to cure the illnesses. At that point,Heidi and her father were among the patients who lose trust with thehealth care providers after feeling that they are not responsive totheir needs and do not seem reliable (LaVesit 1).

Thenext morning, Heidi’s shingles had gotten worse. She had startedfeeling pain in her right ear, which frightened Heidi further. Thefather was lucky to find another doctor for his daughter in the town,in spite of the financial constraint that the family experienced. Thedoctor examined Heidi and stated, “The best treatment I can giveyou is injections”. The father and his daughter did not understandmuch about the prescribed treatment, and the doctor did not bother toexplain to them. The doctor lacked all elements (includingcompetence, reliability, communication, and integrity) thatfacilitate the development of trust between clients and the serviceproviders (Krot 225). Instead of informing them about all treatmentoptions in order to facilitate their participation in the therapeuticprocess, the doctor recommended the injection, which was inconsistentwith the principle of patient-centered care.

Thenurse injected her with antibiotics on the same spot on her arm. Theprescribed medication was administered for a while and there wasconsiderable improvement observed. The father concluded that it waspointless to continue with the medication. Her father recommendedthat she should rest at home and wait for the medical condition tocure with time, although he understood that this approach was quiterisky. There were instances when Heidi felt severe pain to an extentthat tears rolled down her cheeks. The lack of improvement was anadequate proof that the health care provider was unreliable anduntrustworthy (Krot 225).

Heidiwas about to travel overseas when she started experiencing thesymptoms of shingles once again. She was about thirty-eight yearsold, but the memories of untrustworthy and unreliable doctors whotreated her at the age of 17 years were still fresh in her mind. Aday before she could embark on her journey, Heidi visited a dentistwho pulled one of her aching tooth out. The dentist used excessforce, which resulted in a lot of pain and imbalance in her face. Thedentist was also unreliable because his treatment resulted in a newtype of medical problem. Many patients feel that their health careproviders cannot be trusted when they fail to demonstrate the desiredlevel of competence (Krot 225). About a day later, Heidi could notblink her right hand side eye and her ear had started aching. Thisexperience was similar to what she felt at the age of 17 years, butthe pain was more severe.

Thefirst idea that came into Heidi’s mind was to take a bed rest andwait for the disease to disappear due to the fear that she haddeveloped after encountering a number of unreliable and untrustworthydoctors in the past. However, the severity of the pain forced her toseek for medical care. An x-ray scan performed on her face at theradiology department indicated the existence of some white vesiclesmade of fluid that contains viruses. The doctor told her, “You haveBell’s palsy. This disease is caused by a virus called shingles.There is actually no cure for shingles. The treatment you willreceive only reduces its duration and prevents it from spreading. Youare supposed to get it treated within a week, but it has already beenmore than ten days. What were you thinking? You need to behospitalized as soon as possible.” The doctor added, “There is noguarantee that you will be cured, but there is no guarantee that youwon’t be cured either.”

Heidi’sdoctor was kind enough to tell her the truth about the severity ofher condition and take time to convince her that there was aprobability of recovering from the viral infection. The doctordemonstrated empathy and recommended that she should be hospitalizedthe same day in order to put her under medication within the soonesttime possible. The health care providers are able to with the trustof their clients by using effective communication skills to enhancetheir emotional as well as the functional status (Hawley 1).Similarly, the ability of the doctor to convince Heidi that she couldprobably recover from her present condition made her believe that hewas dependable and worthy of her trust. In addition, her new doctorput more effort in treating her than the health care providers whoaddress her previous case.

Similarto the previous experience, Heidi was given the antibioticinjections, but the doctor prescribed acyclovir, which is anantiviral drug that contained the spread of the infection. The healthcare professional also prescribed prednisone, which is a steroid thateradicated vesicles that contained the virus. Heidi’s Bell’spalsy faded away as the vesicles were continually being destroyed bythe steroid. An examination performed using the computerizedtomography indicated that about 80 % of the affected part of the earhad recovered. The doctor comforted her further by saying, “You arevery lucky because this usually does not happen to everyone.”Although the side effects of the medication weakened her body, shefelt thankful to the doctor. The new doctor distinguished himselffrom her first health care providers in two ways. First, hefacilitated her participation in the treatment process by explainingto her about the alternative types of mediation. Secondly, the doctorunderstood the exact diseases that he was treating and how to goabout the therapeutic process. This high level of professionalismenabled the doctor to prevent a further spread of the virus to otherparts of the nervous system.

AlthoughHeidi left the hospital feeling quite weak as a result of the strongmedication, the doctor made some recommendations that couldfacilitate her recovery while at home. For example, the health careprofessional held that she should remain under the observation of aresident nurse and receive acupuncture as well as infraredtreatments. The purpose of the acupuncture therapy was to trigger theflow of energy throughout the body while the infrared treatment wasadministered to reduce pain (Ottawa Integrative Cancer Center 1). Theaspect of trust can be confirmed by the fact that the doctor wasconcerned about the well-being of the patient, even after herdischarge.

Whena medical professional was there to treat her, all she could do wasto trust him. Without knowing if he made the correct or incorrectdecision, she listened to him. In the medical field, gaining thepatient’s trust is the most important. When she first encounteredshingles and went to those incompetent doctors, she was doubtfulabout their reliability. Heidi barely remembered the time when shemet those doctors. If she has had more time and were able to make achoice, then she would have gone to look for a better doctor. At thatmoment, the results could have been the same either way so she justtook a chance with a higher possibility of survival.

Inconclusion, the level of trust that a patient has in a health careprofessional is directly related to the chances of a successfulrecovery from a medical condition. Heidi’s ability to trust thehealth care providers was determined by their respective capacity todemonstrate credibility in their work. For example, the three doctorsthat Heidi encountered understood that she was suffering fromshingles, but they explained it to her and treated it in differentways. She was able to trust a health care professional who empoweredher by giving her a better explanation about the medical conditionand the hope of recovering from the disease. The last doctor provedto be reliable. Her experience with a trustworthy health careprofessional helped her forget about the absurd encounter that shehad with incompetent professionals when she was 17 years old.Therefore, the trust that a patient has with a health care provideris a significant determinant of the effectiveness of the therapeuticrelationship and the success of the treatment process.


Hawley,K. Trustand distrust between patent and doctor. St.Andrews: University of St. Andrews, 2016. Print.

KaiserFamily Foundation. The uninsured a primer 2013-4: How does lack ofinsurance affect access to health care? KaiserFamily Foundation.14 November. 2013. Web. 29 August 2016.

Krot,K. and Lewicka, D. “The importance of trust manager-employeerelationships”. InternationalJournal of Electronic Business Management10.3 (2012): 224-233.

LaVesit,A. Measuring trust in health care: Medical mistrust index 2.1. JohnHopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.2016. Web. 29 August 2016.

OttawaIntegrative Cancer Center. Professionalresource: Acupuncture.Ottawa: Ottawa Integrative Cancer Center, 2016. Print.

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