Monday, October 19, 2009

Why there's no point in blaming the doctor

I often see patients who have received poor quality medical care. Many of them are very bitter about this and often blame the doctor who provided the suboptimal care. While it is true that the doctor is responsible for ensuring he provides good quality care, I feel that blaming the doctor if he fails to do so does not help anyone. In fact, it just creates a lot of unhappiness and resentment in the patient's mind, which blocks healing even further.

I tell patients that the best approach is to forgive the doctor and to move on. It;s best to be charitable - after all, every doctor tries to do their best. It's easy to criticise with the wisdom of 20/20 hindsight, but this is unfair on the doctor , as outcomes are often uncertain at the time treatment is provided. Never attribute to malice what is often a result of stupidity ! However, it is important that you learn a lesson from this. The lesson is simple - your health is too important to leave upto the doctor ! You must learn enough about your own problem so you can make sure the doctor is providing you with the right treatment.

If you learn to take responsibility for your medical care , you can improve the odds of having a good outcome the next time around. And while you cannot ever ensure a good outcome, at least you can improve the odds in your favour of getting better medical care. Everyone is allowed to make a mistake once. Smart people don't make this twice !

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