Sunday, February 22, 2009

Medical ignorance and your Doctor's Ignorance Quotient

" All of us are ignorant - only about different things" !

We expect our doctors to be experts and specialists and to tell us everything we need to know so we can get better. However, the truth is that there are lots of areas about which doctors know very little - and a good doctor will be one who is willing to share his ignorance with you, so you know when you are treading in uncharted territory.

Unfortunately, many patients don't want to hear the truth because the illusion of an omnipotent and omniscient doctor is very comforting when you are ill. However, this delusion can prove to be expensive in case the outcome is bad - but complaining at this time will not really help.

The biggest danger is when a doctor is unsure and uncertain, but will not share this fact with his patient. This is a dangerous situation to be in - for both doctor, and patient !

A mature doctor is happy to let his patient know what the limits of medical science are, so that they can explore the unknown together. However, it does require a mature patient to understand that when the doctor says - " I do not know" does not mean that the doctor is an ignoramus !

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