Monday, May 4, 2009
The doctor is in.
This is in reaction to Kirst, Amy and Marie's blog.
Human beings are at their most vulnerable when they go to the doctor. When we seek medical help we disrobe in front of a perfect stranger while we attempt to give the doctor clues as to what ails us. Yet all the while we are scared to death that we will be told something that will forever change our life.
When the patient is under anesthesia, this vulnerability is taken to an even higher level, as all control is ceded to the surgical and anesthesia team.
Wow, there is no other profession in the world like this! Especially when what we tell our doctors in private is the most serious of trusts.
Then, why do surgeons have to be such assholes?
Is it true that surgeons are the playground bullies of the medical world? That any compassion and genuineness has been beaten out of them long ago?
I believe that surgeons need to be strong, and extremely disciplined, both mentally and physically, but they do not need to be bullies, and they do not need to be macho—with all of the contempt for women.
Most doctors and surgeons I know take pride in their work. However, reading my fellow bloggers post, I learned that they have encountered enough of doctors’ bad behavior and the hospitals who tolerate them.
Damn, we all know that doctors are favored citizens of our country. By their stature, they are able to live well—way above the standard of ordinary people. So why can't they be more compassionate to the plight of their patients? More so, if it was them who bungled the job?!?
Of course, no one can expect a physician to be perfect all the time. Medicine is, at its core, an uncertain science. Every doctor makes mistakes in diagnosis and treatment. But the frequency of those mistakes, and their severity, can be reduced if they don't make errors in judgement.
Oh, I believe that they use shortcuts. Most doctors, within the first 18 seconds of seeing a patient, will interrupt the patient while she is telling her story and also generate an idea in his mind about what's wrong with her. And too often, they make what's called an anchoring mistake — they fix on that snap judgment.
Much has been made of the power of intuition, and certainly initial impressions formed in a flash can be correct. But relying too heavily on intuition has its perils as what happened in Marie's case or was it because the doctor was too stubborn to admit his mistakes?
Doctors should be more careful with their diagnosis for when they make a misdiagnosis, that means that the patient gets sicker and may sometimes die. Then the intensity of treatment that's required by not detecting something early is much more costly than coming to the right diagnosis.
If only doctors and surgeons would start to treat their patient with utmost care, then there will be change, there will be growth, there will be hope...