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...

18 comments:

Amy said...

yes you are right, some doctors and surgeons are assholes and some nurses can be utterly ignorant. I have to say that when i was young and i first met my surgeon he was an arrogant pig, i wasnt going to deal with that so i told him what i thought in front of a ward full of people and from that day he treat me properly and over the years we became friends...unfortunatly he has now retired and i will have to wait and see what my new surgeon will be like...he more than likely wont have read my notes, and wont care like my last surgeon...so i guess i will be telling him too!! xxx

Odette said...

we know that being a doctor has its emotional toll. but people who come to them with perceived illness are even under more stress!
all we need from them is to be civil if they could not show compassion.
they should know, to be patient is never pleasant.

dr ravindra said...

Being a fellow member of the tribe of doctors, I have to admit that there is some substance to what is written here. There is a huge dichotomy between the medical side and surgical side of the medical profession. The surgeons are ten times more rich, and more likely to be macho and pain in you know what!!
Surgeons are more likely to feel that they are gods, and no one can trifle with them.
One must remember that doctors are part of society and come from its members and naturally, all types and sorts of human beings, are therefore seen in the profession. You can't expect them all to be saints of perfection and patience!!

The solution to such feelings would be to have a good, caring, family doctor, who would act as a buffer and tender second opinion and also guide patients, so that they don't get the wrong end of the handle treatment!! Your trusted family doctor is your best bet and insurance against any machinations and manipulations of the breed. Involve him/her at all stages to have an easy time, is my suggestion!!

Odette said...

Ravi,
thank you for your honest opinion. this is truly a wonderful insight on the doctor's inner sanctum.

you are right that relationship between a doctor and patient should be developed. none can be more reassuring than having a doctor you consider a friend who will make sure you get the right medical attention.

i know you take the code of ethics to the hilt and serve your countrymen the best you can.

talk to you soon...

Siva said...

Namaste odd ji...Sorry i just read ur comment on ur before article about the angry ji.there are some particular pranayama called Nadi sudhi..you can search in youtube .About my book it'sin process making Text work so iam beeing busy ji...Take care ji..OM

Odette said...

thanks siva ji, i'll search for it...
good luck on your book!

namaste

living_with_ba said...

You asked me to weigh in, so here I am.

My problem is that I was spoilt for most of my adult life, I had a doctor who swore to me on my first visit that he would never allow me to be seen by another doctor and he would stay with me through my battle and ultimately up to my death. He battled for me against other doctors, kept his word, and should another doctor treat me wrong...well they would then incurr the wrath of Andrew and you didn't want that. It meant that when I was admitted to a different ward, his name was enough to make the doctors on that ward listen to me and do what he had layed out as my admission plan...

...he left three years ago and I was transferred to my current consultant, who is part time, timid, doesn't keep her word and very strong minded about how I should be treated, but at the same time she doesn't follow through. Case in point, last time I was admitted I was told that I should have 40hrs of an IV treatment before it be reviewed and from then be decided if I needed it or not. She wrote it in my notes and sent me off to a ward that didn't know me, and didn't care to read what she had written and had their own (wrong) ideas as to how to treat me, I ended up having to fight verbally for the drug I needed to treat the attack and even then was discharged a week before I should have been because I refused to let them treat me the way they thought they should, and not the way it was laid out in my notes. They wanted me to take drugs I was allergic to because "no one is allergic to x" and other drugs I had had adverse reactions to, and would not listen when I tried to explain that I knew this disease inside out and a whole lot better than they ever would.

The best part of it is that my consultant found and did NOTHING, because she didn't want to be seen as contradicting another doctor even though she KNEW about my allergies and reactions.

I feel I am left with someone that cannot and willnot advocate for me when needed and therefore can't build a relationship with her.

It sucks, but there's also nothing I can do about it.

NEO-CONDUIT said...

Well said Odette!! Thank you for writing that post. I have always said "If the Doctor is an arse but great at what they do I don't mind", "However if he Doctor is an arse, and rubbish at what they do, I do mind".
There is a huge difference between competent/proficient, and just plain incompetent and abusive like my ex surgeon. The more I hear about my ex surgeon, the more I am afraid of the whole system who protects her and allows her to continue practicing....
xoxoxoxo

Tracey said...

Hi Odette, glad you are still doing great posts! I have missed you!
Tracey x xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Odette said...

Joey,
omg, your doctor is suppose to look after your welfare and not rub the back of her colleagues!
so what then would your option be? find another doctor? is that even feasible?
you're right to insist on not taking meds that you are allergic to, and i hope they would listen and go over your records.
damn, we put our life in their hands and they are using the same hand to tie us down helplessly...

thanks for sharing your story with us. how is your book going?
hugs!

Odette said...

kirst,
reading your post, i was appalled at the heartless attitude of these doctors/surgeon to whom you and others had trusted your life. it is very disturbing and i cannot just sit here and feel helpless.
i have to blog the critens! Hahaha
how is hebah? no more colds?
xoxo

Odette said...

Tracey!!!!
finally ... i miss you a lot. are you blogging from home now?

i'll visit your page right away.
hugs!

Sid said...

I have since a little boy always ended up with a good raport with my doctor's. First because the doctors talk to kids to try to get the kid's trust. Instead I would get the doctor's. As a boy I was not realizing I was doing it. As an adult I often became friends with my doctors.

NEO-CONDUIT said...

Yes hebah is slowly getting there, turned into nasty chest infection, she took Monday off, but shes on the road to recovery:)
xoxo

living_with_ba said...

Odette,
My choices are to be reffered to the only other doctor at the hospital that deals with respirtory problems and hope he is better (he trained under my old doc so I think he would be) but he also has a full paitent load so it would be difficult to get in to see him every four weeks, or to stick it out with the doctor I have...I'm not sure what I am going to do, but I have an appointment next week where I do intend to bring up the fact that she did nothing to help me when I was in dire need of a doctor who knew me to be dishing out the meds and that then led to me being discharged far sooner than was appropriate. She is also part time which makes it harder when she isn't even in the hospital to refer to in cases like what I mentioned and then when she is, she does nothing to support me even though she knows (and will tell me privately) that I am in the right.

It sucks, but as I said before, there really is little I can do.

Lirish said...

Some harsh words there..could be a reflection of what is faced..thats true that some doctors do act as they are gods..but there are others who are humble and caring..the two sides of the coin exists in all fields and doctors are not an exception..its true what uncle Ben says in spiderman "with great power comes great responsibilities".. its only that some do realise their role while others dont..I myself as a doctor dont consider myself great..i consider it as a responsibility to make the fellow beings live healthier..whatever cases I cant deal with,I promptly forward them to a higher authority who is more experienced in handling such cases..simple rule..if you cant do any good, dont do any harm..

Odette said...

Lirish,
thanks for the comment.
you see, a lot of young boys and girls when asked a question of what they want to be when they grow up, would answer "to become a doctor!"
why? simple. 'coz they want to cure those who are sick. that to me, is the simplest and basic premise of being a doctor.
and to become a GOOD doctor is to have CONCERN over one's patient.
doctors who worry about their patients keep up-to-date, listen to their patients, and think about not only what they say but also what they haven't said.
i am happy for your patients that they found a good doctor in you.
keep it up....

charisse said...

I am not the nicest, kindest and most patient intern. I have my own moments of impatience and irritation. But it is unforgivable to just acknowledge this and say, “Hey, this is a goverment hospital!", as if that explains everything. We owe it to our patients to always try—and try even harder—to be more patient, understanding and sympathetic, like every doctor should be.

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