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Friday, May 04, 2018


Have any of you noticed how every healthcare practitioner you go to now seems to be giving guarantees of treatment? Life time guaranteed treatments for common ailments. Guarantee boy child with certain powders and medications. Assurance of a cure even though we may not even have a diagnosis yet. Almost every consult ends with don't worry, everything will be alright!

I was wondering, perhaps, if this is the cause of the growing mistrust amongst patients and their Physicians. 

Why is it that we feel compelled to make the patient feel better by lying to them? Why is it so hard for us to tell the truth to their faces? 

Is it compassion? Is it being a good human being? 

Would it be better to be a better human being rather than be a good doctor?

I don't recollect anything in the Hippocratic oath asking us to be emotionally available to our patients. Empathy is something completely different as far as I'm concerned.

Look at how we take consent for procedures. Everything will be fine. There is nothing to it. Don't worry. Not one word about the chances of complications and the chance that it might not work out. We do not have guaranteed treatments for anything (at least not 100%). I know of people who have been told that everything will be alright even when the Doctor is sure the patient will not survive. Why not just say that the situation is grievous and seriously might not end well?

So, what is the answer here? How do you make sure you are capable of giving the truth as it is meant to be given without attracting negativity from the patient?

Would it even be possible to be brutally honest all of the time with everyone? I guess not. I guess somewhere down the line we have to use our judgement and take a call whether to lie or not.

Some of us do it subconsciously but perhaps it's time we all take a course in communication with the patient.

This truly has me stumped. I would love some replies from my Doctor colleagues but even more from non medical people reading this as to what they would prefer. That's the real crux isn't it. Let us ignorant Doctors know what we need to tell you. Perhaps, it would stop all this negativity against Doctors once and for all

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