Whereas patients have often proclaimed their dislike of physicians, physicians rarely admitted to reciprocating this sentiment. Literature abounds in derisive caricatures of physicians but rarely of patients. An unwritten "law of the hills" sets the patient beyond the pale of ridicule or hatred. The patient belongs to the ranks of suffering humanity that deserves only respect and compassion.
The secret, however, is out of the closet. Although conceding that all patients deserve compassion and equal care, physicians no longer conceal from themselves or others the inequality in their emotional attitudes toward the individual patient. They admit that some patients "turn them off."1 Curiously, these patients incur the physician's dislike not because they are bad but because of their behavior as patients.
In a recent communication, Groves1 classifies obnoxious patients under the following four categories: (1) dependent clingers, (2) entitled demanders, (3) manipulative help rejectors, and (4) self-destructive deniers. The