Many patients who demand a specific test might have had bad experiences with a doctor in the past, or may be going through life stressors. There's a host of other reasons as well, including psychological problems such as borderline personality disorder, according to Hull and Broquet, writing in the journal of Family Practice Management.
Yet while much ink is spilled on how to deal with the difficult patient, most doctors understand it's not about them.
"Who cares? The patient is the center of care, not the physician," said Dr. Scott Fields, vice chairman of family medicine at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.
"This is part of what is wrong with how we provide care," he said. "We need to be much more worried about why the patient does what he/she does and much less about how it affects us."