Friday, June 22, 2012

Bad doctors ? or bad patients ?

English: A doctor examines a female patient.
When a patient has a bad medical outcome , he is quite happy to blame his doctor. Unhappy patients feel that the doctor was incompetent or negligent or didn't make the right diagnosis and provide the right treatment. They are  often angry and resentful - and they need to vent their bile – and the doctor is often an easy target. Watching TV shows like Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate just adds fuel to the fire . Sadly, getting a second opinion from another doctor often makes a bad situation worse ! Doctors are quite willing to badmouth each other , and because of professional rivalry and competition, they seem to play an endless game of one-upmanship !

Patients love playing the role of the passive victim. However this does not help anyone ! Rather than blame the doctor for not doing a good job , patients need to learn to take responsibility for the quality of medical care they get. This is really not as hard as it sounds. During an emergency , patients may have very little say  in their medical care, but the vast majority of medical problems require planned elective medical treatment , and patients can easily educate and inform themselves about their options , so they can make the right decision.

I agree this was difficult to do in the past , when all the medical knowledge was locked up in medical books and journals, which only doctors could access. However, in this day and age , when we are awash with medical information written for patients, so much of which is so easily available online for free , I'm not willing to be so sympathetic when the patient complaints that the doctor did not explain anything to them.
I do agree that it is the doctor’s job to educate the patient, but I also feel that it's the patient's job to make sure that they're well informed. Just like you can't afford to leave everything up to God , you can't afford to leave everything up to your doctor either.

Patients need to learn to take responsibility for the quality of care they get. Just like one of the most important decisions they make is selecting the right doctor for their problem , making sure they've done their homework so they have realistic expectations of what the doctor can do for them is equally important. This is why information therapy has such an important role to play in improving medical care  !

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  1. Anonymous10:11 PM

    Thanks for that. I had torealize that I dropped the ball by not verifying formyself, what dr.s said - as it is MY body.

    However - when you finally get to where you are actively reading, looking, listening for what you can do to improve your health - BUT your doctors don't seem to be on board with real progress/and healing - even when you print countless internet articles they refuse to take heed. And..when you begin making complaints to their superiors for treatment change and become labeled mental health - at what point does the doctor bear blame.

    At the umpteenth drug they gave you for a symptom of your condition, that really worsened the condition but it got rid of the symptom.

    At the umpteenth "undiagnosis" that you really dont have a particular condition and so the meds you been taking was not necessary (making your primary condition yet again - worse)

    When they go so far as to contact authorities, and tell them your conditions are all mental. All the "pre-stage conditons they have been monitoring" now no longer exist - so its all in your head.

    When they refuse to acknowledge it was their prescribing conflicting medicines/ and even some now recalled by govt for life threatening side effects, that caused the flare up which made you lose your job/CAREER, your home, many friends, kids are devstated etc. Now you rely on govt insurance because you can no longer afford the right care with private doctors.

    Are they accountable when they ignore blaring lab results though the results tie to physical symptoms patient complains of while they continue to claim they have no idea why its happening (dont even mention it to the patient, let alone investigate it).

    Are they accountable when they dont want to acknowledge they screwed up /NOR take any measures to get you the right help. The right help: according to various books, articles, and research papers - will correct enough of the primary problem so that the side things popping up will freeze or reverse, and the patient can return to some bit of normalcy in life: work, parent, function regularly, etc..

  2. Yes, I agree it can be frustrating when you aren't improving and it seems that the doctors don't care about you.

    However, making sure that you are in control , and are well-informed about what is happening to you, will help you in getting better quickly.


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