The art of prescribing…
A patient-doctor conversation
Kerry: Am I drinking too much? How do I know if I am addicted? Can I drink daily or a weekend shot can cause more damage to my health?
Doctor: Occasional excessive drinking will certainly damage your liver….
… & so on goes the conversation until the doctor permits Kerry to have his share of drinks. This is one example of how we always seek for a doctor’s approval to continue living our habits unperturbed and in return we do not mind “paying” for the same.
A doctor is considered next to God. Whenever a patient approaches a doctor with this faith, the doctor’s battle is almost half-won because healing begins with faith. Then the doctor needs less effort to actually treat him. The role of a doctor is indeed more human, he needs to be sensitive while using his medical sense, must do justice to the patient while being just to himself, strive for the perfect diagnosis of the patient just as he would expect for any of his close kins, and most importantly know his limits of treating and earning. Such an effective balance is more crucial especially in difficult cases where the possibility of misdiagnosing is more.
Of course, the confidence, maturity and experience that a doctor gains through years of training gives him the liberty to utilize his precious time intelligently. Eventually, he can quickly jump to the diagnosis and treatment within minutes of seeing the patient just to save time. This could even be at the cost of patient satisfaction if he is sure that someone else (an assistant) or the medicines itself would compensate for the lack of his personal attention and availability. A common case like viral fever or common cold definitely doesn’t need more than a few minutes of doctor’s attention and medications are more than enough to take care of it.
Come to think of it, a good study of psychology is also an important aspect of practicing medicine. Isn’t it an art to extract money painlessly from an already tormented soul?. On a serious note, what makes a doctor’s job noble is the very fact that they deal with suffering and help bring back a smile on the distressed face.
Some circumstances can put doctors in a real bad situation (especially in this part of the world) where a financially sound patient fools around with reasons for not paying the fees. So the doctor also has to ensure that he is not denied his dutiful wages, although he has the right to decide whether he wants to exempt people from paying him in some exceptional cases. Here lays the extra skill required by the doctor that he has to diagnose not only the illness but also the standard of living of the patient, if he desires to live decently.
A doctor’s job can become real challenging at times while dealing with the vast diversity of souls spread across this funny world. Just imagine their eccentric hues when they are at the worst in ill-health. Thanks to the OTC doctors who add to their misery by dispensing drugs that further worsen their symptoms.
Some patients can be very high-spirited and they teach you a life’s lesson within those few minutes of consultation. They know, understand what you say and don’t even expect an additional word of prognostic evidence from you. Some can be equally bothersome and keep repeating over and over the same symptoms and impatiently demand assurance of a lifetime in just one visit. I guess they want you to agree that you can’t smile all the time, they can easily irk you, and make your proud journey (medical achievements) suddenly look so insignificant.
New doctors need to make an effort initially to learn the tricks of the trade. They need to be calm, dynamic and should always wear a welcome smile (with hidden emotions of happiness on seeing some anguished influxes). A loose word here and there and you lose it all. You need to behave like an Almighty and be ready for the instant quiz being thrown at you. A minute’s delay and your certificates can’t save you.
With the general awareness of health increasing, a little bit of education about the disease has become essential these days. A patient who approaches you needs not only medicines or counseling but also the moral support which he wouldn’t always get from his family. A doctor’s word means a lot to the patient.
Introducing humor is also very important while treating the patient, because a doctor lamenting along with the patient would definitely not create a positive impact on his illness. A certain distance has to be maintained amongst these two entities to bring out the best in them. Too much familiarity and too much of involvement on the doctor’s part can be harmful to both and mainly the profession.
That’s all I have to share now as I hear the fat lady sing. Again, hat’s off to the management skills of the doctor and great is the consumer – the patient who compels the doctor to become so versatile.