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    Handling (or even firing) the difficult patient

    Derms offer advice on how to cope

    There are difficult dermatologists and difficult patients, but only one of these varieties pays the bills of the other. That's why there's plenty of incentive for dermatologists to assume -- in the best tradition of quality customer service -- that the patient is always right.

    But what if the patient isn't right, persists in being extremely wrong, and proceeds to make everyone's life in the clinic harder? 

    Dermatologists know the type. One patient will insist that every brown spot or wrinkle must be gone and threaten to alert the world via Yelp if she doesn't get free touch-ups for life. Another patient will disrupt the office with inappropriate remarks. Then there are those who are certain they know more than the dermatologist because they've gone on the Internet even though they lack an "M.D." after their names. 

    How can dermatologists avoid turning ideal patients into difficult ones? And what should they do when a patient starts becoming a major pain?  

    A panel of veteran dermatologists tackled this topic at the 2016 CalDerm Symposium, a continuing education seminar offered by the California Society of Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgery.

    Here are tips gleaned from the panel discussion and follow-up interviews with Dermatology Times.

    Next: Weed out touchy patients at the beginning

    Randy Dotinga
    Randy Dotinga is a medical writer based in San Diego, Calif.


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