Are doctors the worst patients?

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It is an odd, early morning hunger-pang induced ranting on a topic that will, at some level, strike a chord with most of us. A close friend often tells me that doctors make the worst kind of patients, doctor wives’ even more so!
Maybe we do
But can we do differently and not make for difficult-patients?
This burst of spontaneous writing is induced by a colleague’s recent harrowing experience with one of the best doctors in one of the best facilities in Delhi, while trying to seek a consult for her brother.
Analyzing her situation I realize that she was not seeking reassurance, she was not being an overanxious medico asking for reassurance. She needed an explanation, not a mere dismissal that she got. She was asking a valid question this time (the ‘this time’ stems from knowing that the validity of the questions wax and wane!)
I know the drill at the doctors’ end. I know how irked we feel when we have to deal with doctors and their ‘known-to’s’ I know how doctor-patients’ just refuse to lay their full trust in the physician; how they go over the top with their own searching and how they are simultaneously running a full set of alternate differentials in their own heads.
But, having been a medico-patient more than once, having not been taken seriously, being pushy with seeking the correct diagnosis I know it feels pathetic. Do I not deserve to know? Does my coterie not know how it feels to be on the other side of the table?
Quoting: “While doctors are often in a better position than most of us to spot the hazards in the hospital and the holes in their care, they can’t necessarily fix them.” (1)

And a doc-patient’s advice: leave the medical degree at home, metaphorically speaking! (2)
Not much I can do but I will as a physician make a wee bit extra effort in making sure that my ‘doctor-patients’ feel at ease. Having said that I shall continue to search the Cochrane meta analysis/ Level 5 evidence for my colleague’s brother and dissect every word of his doctor’s prescription: with her coalition!

PS: A thank you to my people (you know who you guys are)!

- Gurmeen Kaur
Lady Hardinge Medical College

1)http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1186553,00.html#ixzz1Sb1zhnPC
2)http://www.support4doctors.org/detail.php/61/doctors-as-patients-case-study-cancer?category_id=15

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About ASMJ Hivemind

This is the official blog for the Asian Students' Medical Journal. A blog of, for and by medical students!
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One Response to Are doctors the worst patients?

  1. I totally agree! I, for myself, have admitted to be a complete hypochondriac who relishes in getting her blood sampled for bilirubin when she suspects a tinge of yellow in her sclerae! (though the yellow may be due to the lemon yellow of her hostel room walls getting reflected on her eyeballs!)

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