Well, as many a parent and grandparent has said: never judge another until you have walked a mile in his moccasins.
Rude, demanding, disrespectful, energy-sapping patients come from all walks of life and every socioeconomic class. So do the kind and thoughtful ones. Making assumptions about patients based on their insurance status (or lack thereof) is intellectually lazy and, to my mind, morally repugnant.
What right do we have to judge our patients anyway---are we health care providers, or the morality police? I'd hate to think that there are nurses who, when they get a rude or demanding patient, actually look up insurance status and burn with self-righteous indignation because "my tax dollars are paying for this, etc. etc." Otherwise, how do we know what their payment source is? And why does it matter?
Pardon my irritation, but treating people differently because of financial status has long been a pet peeve of mine; in fact, it's bothered me ever since my own family and I were on Medicaid ourselves back in the late '80s and early '90s. Looking at us today, you'd never know we used to scrape by on foodstamps and welfare payments, or that we once went two years without a car or a home phone. But believe me, we were about as poor as poor can get in these United States.........so if I were your patient, why would you regard me differently now that I have enough of everything to get by in life? I'm the same person I was back then---maybe a little grayer and a little wiser, but the same human being I was when we didn't have two nickels to rub together.
Yet it continues to amaze me, how differently I'm treated now that I have good health insurance and a solid middle-class lifestyle. I literally couldn't get admitted to the hospital with status asthmaticus and an O2 sat of 85% on room air when I was on Medicaid; they just gave me 3 or 4 breathing treatments and a bottle of prednisone and sent me home. Then when I had my lap chole years later, they actually kept me overnight because I couldn't keep my sats up for the first hour after surgery. I was OK before I was ever transferred to the floor, but they kept me. What a difference a few numbers make, no?
So..........the take-home lesson here is, never generalize about patients, or ANYONE for that matter. If you don't know the person's circumstances, if you don't know how they came to be the way they are, you can't judge. I know it's perfectly frustrating to have a patient who does nothing but kvetch, nag, whine, cry, demand, complain, and otherwise treat us like something they scraped off the bottom of their shoe, but why bring socioeconomic status into it and point fingers at the less fortunate just because they don't usually fight back? Just because we can?
Coming down off the ol' soapbox now.