Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The golden rule as applied to Medicine

The golden rule is timeless - Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

However, it's very difficult to to apply this in medical practise, simple because it's impossible for a doctor to read a patient's mind and understand what his personal priorities are. This is why most doctors just blindly apply "evidence based guidelines" when treating patients. However, these have been developed by mindless committees - and it's a truism in medicine that one size cannot fit all.

This leads to a lot of unhappiness -
for doctors ( who are frustrated that their patients do not provide more articulate inputs) ;
for patients ( who don't want to be treated as a number) ; and their
family members ( because they feel that the doctor impersonal and does not care).

A feel a better option would be for all doctors to treat all their patients as if they were doctors.
This would solve a lot of problems !

Thanks to professional courtesy , most doctors are on their best behaviour when treating other doctors. It's a good idea to treat all patients with the same degree of respect !

When talking to doctors, doctors are very careful with their explanations, because they know that the doctor is well-informed as well ! They don't talk down to them; and will treat them as equals.

Most importantly, doctors will allow other doctors to make their own decisions. They treat doctors as empowered patients; and will handle them as being partners in the treatment process.

Does this mean that doctors abdicate all their responsibility and just do what their patients want ? Of course not ! Even when treating another doctor, the doctor is still a professional; whose job it is to ensure that the patient does not make a wrong decision. This combination allows patients a mix of both freedom and safety ; they are secure that they have the doctor's professional expertise backing up their decision, so that they know they are not doing something stupid; while at the same time they are happy that the doctor is willing to listen to them and to respect their personal preferences.
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