Friday, January 28, 2011

Mama Mia

I am stuck with a dilema at work, and it's killing me.

The story is one of my two new PA's has horrible breath. I'm talking about "Stink". It's unbearable. And, I don't know how to tell her.

Since the PA's are new, my sister and I are not yet comfortable having them see patients all by themselves. We always review the cases and see the patients briefly after they have been seen by these PA's. So, they would present the cases to us after seeing their patients.

I find myself not wanting this PA to open her mouth at all. But when she presents the cases, she keeps on getting so close to me. I told her several times that since we were busy, she didn't have to present; I could just read her notes. But she continues to talk and talk and talk...Most of the time, I find myself steering my head away from her or walking really fast so she would be behind me. But, sometimes, she caught me by surprise, and...OMG!!!!!

My sister can't stand it either, but neither one of us wants to tell her. We don't want to offend her or hurt her feelings. At, the same time, it's unbearable. One of these days, you'll find me falling stiff like a bird laying at the bottom of a cage.

What am I to do?????


  1. The problem is NOT that you and your sister have to suffer the PA's halitosis, but so do your patients as well. Therefore, you have no choice, but an obligation to discuss it with her. Explain to her to concept of "personal space" and that she should not get so close to an individual that they invade their personal space. However, if she is examining a patient about their head and neck, she will have to get necessarily close when looking in the eyes, ears, mouth, etc.

    And discuss her bad breath specifically. Is it poor mouth hygiene? Is it what she eats? Find out what the problem is.

    Then pass out mouth fresheners to everyone on your staff and explain that "we all" need to use them, so as not to offend our patients.

    I would guess that your PA will not be offended, but rather grateful that you have helped her with a problem that she might be unaware of, especially if your approach her tactfully. Good luck.

  2. You need to talk to her right away. Speak to her privately and suggest a cure. Don't patients ever talk to you about solutions for halitosis? As a physician don't you have awkward conversations with people all the time?