Monday, October 10, 2005

Two types of doctors

I believe there are two types of doctors. The first, who is comfortably ensconsed on his pedestal, enjoys crushing you into submission . He is the expert who spouts jargon, quotes statistics, makes you feel inferior and inadequate; and rushes you into treatment. The other ( a much rarer breed !) empowers you to make your own decisions . " This is the difference between an idol and God. An idol tells people exactly what to believe, God presents them with choices they have to make for themselves. Before the idol, men remain dependent children; before God, they are burdened and at the same time liberated to participate in the decisions of endless creation." ( Arthur Miller, Timebends). A good doctor burdens and at the same time liberates his patients ! What a delicious paradox - and only very good doctors know how to maintain this balance. He allows patients to make their decisions for themselves - and this can be a heavy burden, which not all patients are willing to carry ! A good doctor will help lighten this burden, so that the load is bearable - and even liberating ! As I tell all my patients - "You need to make the decision for yourself. It's your life - no one else can make it for you. You cannot abdicate the responsibility of decision making - but I promise you I will not let you make a wrong decision. " Patients who actively participate in making medical decisions have much better outcomes - and much happier doctors too !

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