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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Trust your doctor. However....

1st July is Doctor's day. You would probably be sending out happy doctors day messages to any doctor you've visited and been satisfied with.

That satisfaction comes from a level of trust between you and your Doctor. This trust is, today, at it's most fragile state. There are reports everywhere of Doctors betraying their patients' trust, their own Hippocratic oath, their own conscience and more importantly their livelihood.


These reports are like a lot of the other media sensations carried out by the ratings syndicate. They do sensationalize just a wee bit, dramatize for effect so you would read the article and of course zing it up with a bit of creative writing.


I do confess, there are a couple of rotten apples (ok may be a couple hundred) amongst my brethren. They do things that make me sick to my stomach, like, scaring the heebeejeebees out of patients for small, minor ailments, which could use just an aspirin or a paracetamol (no pharma affiliations here).


This post is not about that. This post is about the way forward in this current scenario. Here is my tuppence on the matter.

The family physician is dying out. The good old GP who knew everything about your family, your children, your great grandparents, your maid, is today, no longer your first point of recourse if someone falls ill in the household. It's all gone bonkers with specialists and consultants running straight in for trivial matters.

You really do not need a specialist for about 80% of the problems that generally come up health wise. The remaining 20% can also be effectively handled by a good recommendation by your primary physician.


There is no trust, no faith, no motivation to go to your GP anymore. There are a few reasons for this, primary of which, is the easy availability of specialists. They are no longer only at the major hospitals with a waiting period of 2 months. Secondly, the elite breed of Family Physician is just not being produced any more (the reasons for this wound need another post). Lastly, every distant relative that's never even seen you before has the best doctor to recommend to you (doesn't matter what the specialization is in this case).


There is a way forward. Find a Doctor, one you think you can trust. Let him/her be from any field of medicine/surgery. Pick them because they are the ones you know you can trust. Then trust them for everything they say. Most specialist Doctors will probably know more about any disease more that your relative staying two countries over or that nosy neighbour who just happened to hear what was wrong or even that person you occasionally say hi to in the office parking lot!

Once you find a Doctor you can trust, place that trust completely and know that they will only do what is best for you. If they know they can't treat the condition at hand, they will refer you to someone else who is more capable to do so. Keep the trust and do not think it's because of a cut back or referral fee (here is a tip - the fee does not change whether there is a referral fee involved or not. You're going to have to pay what you're going to have to pay). Follow up back with your primary doctor after the referral. Trust him/her to now maintain your health ahead!


To do so, the Doctor has to be able to trust you too. This is something that is not spoken about at all (primarily because it's a non media issue). Your trustworthy Doctor has to be able to trust you to do as he says, take his prescriptions exactly as they are supposed to be taken, go back when asked and rest when advised so. Any deviation from the plan of treatment is on your head not the Doctors. Something to think about isn't it? How many times have we felt better and stopped medication or started work because we just had to go back before the advised duration of rest, not do those silly breathing exercises because really it's just brainwashing isn't it?


When we then relapse, it's the fault of the Doctor of course! He must have not given me the right medication. He wasn't reassuring enough, he wasn't clear enough in his instructions. He didn't specifically say we couldn't go back to work! Excuses flow fast and thick in order to justify our actions.

Trust is a two way street. Put in that little effort and be a model patient and you will automatically have a model trustworthy Doctor.


Find one you can trust first. Once you figure you are happy with him/her, stick to them like superglue!

However.... Don't take my word for it, let me know what you think!!


  1. Sound advice - Indians have a dirty habit of thinking they know more than the doctor and thus stop following instructions when recovery is on the upswing.


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