Saturday, January 21, 2006

Medicine - profession ? or business ?

I always ask my patients about their experiences at other IVF clinics. This helps me to benchmark our practise; and to improve our standards. I am often astounded when they tell me that the medical history was taken by an assistant, and the "doctor" just breezed in to do an examination and provide advise regrading treatment.
A medical history is a crucial part of the medical treatment , in my opinion, and must be done by the doctor. While it does not provide much medically useful information for most infertile patients, it's extremely valuable in helping the doctor to establish a rapport with the patient. After all, every patient is first a human being, with a unique set of problems and perspectives. A history is a conversation between my patient and me and allows me to get into my patient's skin, so I can do a better job treating them. Why would a good doctor want to delegate this to someone else ?
Of course, having an assistant do this would help the doctor to see many more patients - and busier doctors earn more money. But medicine is not just a business - it's also a profession which should be satisfying and personally rewarding ! I love talking to may patients; unearthing their problems; and trying to solve them - why would I give away something I enjoy doing so much to someone else ? I enjoy doctoring !

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