Monday, July 27, 2009

Should you treat your doctor as a technician or a professional ?

The answer to this question depends on 2 variables: your personality; and that of your doctor.

If you are well-informed ; have done all your homework; have explored all your options; and are quite certain of what you want from life and your medical treatment, then your best option is to treat your doctor as a technician and get him to do what you want him to do. This is a perfectly reasonable approach; and works well if you a compliant doctor who is willing to listen to your perspective.

However , some doctors can be very authoritarian, and will insist that their patients follow their rigid guidelines. Actually , having well defined medical protocols can provide a lot of structure and security, and is a good idea when tackling complex problems which require multidisciplinary teams , such as bone marrow transplantation.

On the other hand , if you are uncertain or confused; and need guidance and counseling, is best to treat your doctor as a professional. His first task will be to walk you through your treatment options and help you to decide what's best for yourself. Of course , not all doctors are good at this. Some doctors pride themselves on their technical skills and would much rather treat you as a disease which needs to be fixed , rather than a human being who needs hand-holding. This is especially true in certain specialties such as cardiac surgery , where many doctors would much rather be in the operating room , fixing blocked coronary arteries , rather than talking to their patients.

It’s also perfectly acceptable to use one doctor to provide you with guidance; and the other as a technician , to perform the surgery. This is why certain doctors , who may be technical wizards in the operating room, continue to attract lots of patients , even though they maybe very rude and have a terrible bedside manner. Of course , many doctors don't like this, because the amount they get reimbursed for providing counseling and showing you the right direction , is much less than they get paid when they are operating in the theater.

In the best of all possible worlds, you will find a doctor who is both a consummate professional and a skilled technician. While these are few and far between, it's well worth taking the time and effort to find such a gem.

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