Health Adda 2019
Two-Way Patient Doctor Relationship
Doctors are sometimes accused by disgruntled patients as being unsympathetic, brisk, rude, unprofessional, unscrupulous, money-minded and many more.
The range of behaviour and attitudes of the patient sitting across the table can be equally varied in spectrum, complexity and taxing!
Indian cities offer the well-to-do patient a wide range of doctors to consult. Hence if the barriers of fees and waiting time can be overcome, most patients go on to collect a few or at times, several opinions.
An anxious young mother had brought her smiling 12-year old son for abdominal pain and had proudly said that she had consulted 18 doctors, all the very best in town, in the last fortnight alone. Not knowing how best to react I had asked in a bemused tone which of the 18 prescriptions she had tried, to which she had said that she had not followed any one!
A “second opinion” is a good thing. The situation however gets tricky when having collected several prescriptions of several doctors without telling one what the previous had advised, the patient decides by himself which of the medicines he takes from one prescription, and which from another, which medications he takes from the cardiologist’s prescription and so on, often not able to trust or put his faith on a single doctor for comprehensive continued guidance.
Many medications can have interactions, and the patient not disclosing the true picture can sometimes land him and the doctor in trouble.
Some patients obviously seem to suffer from an innate ability to trust, but expect the doctor to go out of his way and take deep interest in his welfare. If professional equation is sought, why then the disappointment or annoyance if the doctor refuses to share his personal number or refuses to take a call in an emergency in off-duty hours?
With the rapidly evolving transactional nature of the doctor -patient relationship, old-world values such as trust, faith and empathy are beginning to fall by the side.
Politeness, courtesy, professionalism, and appropriate medical care are to be expected from a doctor. No excuses. The problem arises however when one starts expecting the additional factors of “empathy”, “kindness” and “personal attention” to come on as a free add-on even if they misbehave with the care-givers, just because they have paid a bill.
Patients as well as doctors belong to the human race and have their varying shares of imperfections, and any interaction will unfortunately always remain a 2-way process.