Healing by Doctor
¤ Diagnosing Your Doctor
the French writer and philosopher, once remarked:
"Who are the greatest deceivers ?The doctors. and the greatest
fools ? The patients."
Patients may take the remark with a pinch, but in this technology
driven age, it is a demanding job to decide upon a suitable doctor for
ones ailment. Precise standards of excellence are difficult to
establish in a profession which is half science and half art.
Compare your choice of buying a stereo system with choosing a doctor.
Buying the music system is a shopping process where you begin with a
discussion among friends and family, visit the showrooms, talk to
specialists and compare models before buying one. It is an equally
complicated process of choosing a doctor or is it just a matter of
appointment and then walking in straight. In fact, there is a crisis
in doctor-patient relationship, and doctor shopping is one symptom of
You realise your foolishness when you walk out of the doctors
clinic. You feel depressed and dissatisfied, unhappy and still unwell
? Did the consultation make you sick when it was intended to make your
feel better. Goethe was not far from the truth when he said, "It
is so hard that one cannot really have confidence in doctors and yet
cannot do without them."
Gone are the days when doctors carried that capacious black bag, had
the time to talk to his patients and the relationship used to be
partnership cemented in trust, its primacy unquestioned. We trusted
our doctors who cured us for almost everything. Till recently, doctors
perceived to practice in a manner that maximised the comfort,
confidence and understanding of their patient.
¤ The Changed Craft of Doctoring
Today, the craft of doctoring has acquired a different dimension.
Innovative technologies and medications have widened our choice. This
explosion of resources has reduced the doctors to respond by ordering
more sophisticated tests and quoting results of patients
The traditional talking and listening to the doctor has become
outdated. Most doctors fail to realise that spending time with the
patient and communicating regularly confers beneficial effects. Father
of medicine had summed it up as; "Some patients, though conscious
that their condition is perilous, recover their health simply through
their contentment with the goodness of the physician."
¤ Medical Studies Proves
In fact, medical training should lead to the conviction that the
primary goal for every doctor is to achieve an improved outcome for
patients: that diagnostic and scientific investigations are secondary
to the well being of the patient.
The medical profession has come to view the patients as a complex of
symptoms and not as a whole people, who can be given an active role in
the management of their own care.
On the other hand, most patients fail to view doctors as fellow human
beings who are not gods. Think of Alexander III, the king of Macedon,
who said he was dying with the help of many physicians. Occasionally,
we hear about doctors operating upon the wrong eye or leaving scissors
in the stomach. Visiting a doctor does not guarantee a cure. Looking
back at history we find that they suffered a definite down in bygone
¤ The Ancient Rules Set For The Doctors
Chinese emperors paid their doctors only when they were well. As soon
as they became ill, the salary was cut off until they returned to
normal. Visgoth Code did not set a surgeons fee, but it did rule
that if the patient died all fees stood cancelled, and if the death
was the result of blood letting the doctor was to be delivered to the
bereaved family for better treatment. The 12th century legal code of
Sicily expected doctors to treat poor patients free, visit them twice
during day and night, if required by the patient.
¤ Today's Need
Today things are different and times have changed. Today patients
should try to know more about the specifics of medicine and diagnostic
tests. Perhaps this may re-establish the doctor patient relationship.
Patients should also limit their medical visits to that which is
necessary, in case you dont get well with your doctor, change to
a physician who has a special interest in your problem or seek a
specialist if you find that your fears have not yet been allayed.
¤ Doctor's With Diverse Attitudes
Doctors too, come in various forms. If you are lucky you can land in
a clinic where the doctor is jolly and equally optimistic to meet you.
A bad luck may bring you to a doctor who hardly smiles and answers
your questions, is rather prompt in handing over the prescription to
you before you complete your talk. But though warmth and caring
attitude are important, a friendly doctor isnt necessarily as
bright as his smile. Likewise, a doctor may be lousy at chitchat but a
In this day and age, it is a demanding task to decide upon a doctor
whose name plate is replete with medical abbreviations, you may not
understand to the fullest. Well trained doctors can end up giving
second rate care if they dont keep up-and keeping up is hard to
do. It means reading journals, attending conferences and
continuing-education courses, and interaction with peers in journal
clubs, meetings, hospitals and medical society communities, often
after long days at the office or hospital.
Begin with a check up of doctors credentials. However, it is
not easy to obtain access to complete, up-to-date and verified
information about physicians is all but possible. You may ask
personally or begin with the medical directory. Is the doctor
practicing alone or in a group ? Many feel that group is better as
each case is considered by more medical minds but others prefer solo
practitioners on the plea that too many cooks spoil the broth.
¤ To Choose A Skilled Doctor
Teaching and speciality hospitals tend to have doctors who are most
up-to-date. These institutions have a large support team of medical
technologies and the most advanced diagnostic and therapeutic
equipment. These physicians are the most likely to be highly respected
by other doctors and to have cutting edge medical knowledge. Moreover,
they treat numerous patients and certainly practice makes a man
perfect. In case of a surgeon, consider the number of operations he
performs and thus his skills and practice.
If you seek opinion from current or former patients about a physicians
acumen, the feedback you get will likely be based on sample size of
one. Other doctors may also be subjective since they themselves may
receive referrals for recommending each other. The most unbiased
sources may be local hospital nurses. They hardly gain anything for
recommending a particular doctor. They can surely tell you whos
good, whos sloppy, whos not up to date, etc.
Dont expect too much from your judgment. Medicine, after all,
is half science and half art, a certain amount of it has to be taken
on faith and doctors are there to put your mind at rest.