When it comes to medical leave, there are a number of factors that come into play that determine the validity of that leave. On paper, medical leave costs your employee money, though I would personally argue not all that much, and so employers are hesitant, to say the least, to allow you to take leave from work. Here’s where we find the doctor’s note. This slip of paper is all but required to take medical leave, even for only a single shift, or even a fraction of a shift in some extreme cases. This makes sense on paper (Get it?) because it would prevent laziness from prevailing and us playing hooky as a result. However, it’s not like you’re trying to arrange a vacation with Orbitz and leave your employer high and dry. After all, we almost always have to make up that missing shift by swapping with our replacement, anyway, so no one’s really losing anything in the end. Holding people accountable when they fail to take care of obligation is important, but the doctor’s note is a paradoxical example of that. Here’s why.
First and foremost, let’s look at the requires for getting a doctor’s note. The most important of these is, of course, seeing a doctor. No surprises so far. This doctor has to also conclude that you needed to miss work for whatever is wrong with you, and of course, that there is something wrong with you. Here’s where we run into problems. As my wife could tell you, doctor’s simply don’t take women seriously when it comes to health issues. Though we’ve since demonstrated that “female hysteria” is a myth, the idea is still knocking around the skulls of older generations, and so here we are. My wife was treated multiple times for panic disorder, which she had, but doctor’s wouldn’t listen and kept insisting that was the whole story despite the presence of symptoms not associated with panic disorder. In the end, wouldn’t you know it, my wife was right, and she had other medical problems. At least she had a mental illness that doctors could see as a valid reason for medical attention. Others aren’t so lucky. Then, of course, we have to look at the problem with treating pain.
The treatment of pain in the medical field has a horrible history associated with it. Many pain relieving medicines, or painkillers, are highly addictive, and so you have doctors reticent to prescribe them and patients willing to get them at all costs. Therefore, if you have a problem with pain that doesn’t have an obvious medical cause, whether you want medication or not, this might perceived as you trying to pull a fast one, when, in fact, there are a litany of cases wherein patients experience pain with no known cause. I, myself, have migraines, and the general consensus on migraines is that they sometimes occur with no known reason.