Friday, October 10, 2014

The doctor-patient relationship - trust is not enough

Trust is an integral part of the doctor-patient relationship . We need to be able to trust our personal
physician , and finding a doctor they can trust is an important goal for all patients. We need to believe that our doctor will do what‘s right for  us , and will be available for us in our time of need .

However , while trust is a necessary part of the doctor-patient relationship , my point is that it's not sufficient . The reason is that no matter how technically competent the doctor maybe , and however ethical , honest and upright he is , he cannot read your mind.  While he may be a competent professional, he doesn’t know what your personal preferences are. This is why the treatment he may select for you may not be the one which you would have chosen if you were aware of all your options . For example, if you have chest pain, he may have a very aggressive personality , and may want to do surgery, while you may be much more conservative, and are happier to let nature to take its own course. In medicine there are no black-and-white easy answers – there are only shades of grey. Each patient needs to find the path which is right for them, so that they are comfortable with this, and can live with the outcome of their decision, no matter what the final outcome maybe, because it’s always impossible to predict this.

This is why a healthy doctor-patient partnership is so powerful . No matter how good your doctor is, you cannot afford to blindly trust him and make all the decisions for you. In fact , a good doctor will go out of his way to explain to the patient what their options are . He will try to be as neutral and nonjudgmental as possible , so he can listen to the patient's input . Interestingly, the more willing the doctor is to discuss options with the patient, and to share the limits of medical knowledge, the greater the trust his patients will have in him !

Patients who are actively engaged make far better decisions in partnership with their doctor, as compared to the patient who meekly does whatever their doctor orders him to. This engagement takes time and effort on the part of both patient and doctor, but this is a very worthwhile investment !


  1. Trust between patient and Doctor is must.

  2. Anonymous9:30 PM

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    1. Ideally, he cannot ! However, in India, anything goes - and one of India's leading IVF clinics in Delhi is run by a rich skin specialist who has powerful political connections !

      Dr Aniruddha Malpani
      Malpani Infertility Clinic, Jamuna Sagar, SBS Road, Colaba
      Mumbai 400 005. India

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      Tel: 91-22-22151065, 22151066, 2218 3270, 65527073

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