Saturday, March 12, 2005

Making sense of your doctor's answers

Asking questions is easy - but answering them can be hard ! Often, your doctor may have to tell you that we don't know what the answer to your question is. Some patients feel very uncomfortable when their doctor doesn't know the answers, but you need to remember that medicine is a biological science, and there are many variables we cannot control. It's far better for you if your doctor is honest and shares his doubts and uncertainties with you, rather than bluff and provide you with dishonest "answers".
I would give full marks to the doctor who pulled out a PDA to answer a question about the dosage of a drug or who looked up the Net to find out the side-effects of a new medicine. Some patients feel that a doctor who needs to look up stuff is not competent or well-informed, but in all honesty, with the pace of change in medicine today, it's impossible for a doctor to know everything about medicine. A doctor who is honest will look up information in front of you - and this should increase your confidence levels in him - because he is confident enough to not have to hide his ignorance !

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