July 1st is being celebrated in India as Doctors’ Day, since 1991, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, an eminent physician and the second Chief Minister of West Bengal.
You can’t disagree with me if I say doctors are representatives of God on earth or are the healing saints. This is an era of transplantations and replacements which not only save lives but also improve the quality of life led by the patients. Doctors have been successfully transplanting vital organs like heart, kidney and liver while replacing knees, joints and hips.
Today’s world no longer knows the concept of a General Practitioner or a Family Physician. A family doctor knows the health history of his patient and the patient’s family and helps them to make the right decisions regarding their health. In this era of Specialists, a family doctor is long forgotten. Present doctors rarely remember their patients and patients hardly trust their doctors.
Many people believe that a large number of people die due to wrong diagnosis by doctors, their negligence or delayed care meted out to the patients. A reputable hospital I visited had a notice board put up that points out that doctors are also ordinary human beings prone to mistakes. But the question is, as a patient, will you be able to forgive your doctor for an irreversible mistake? The peak of Swine Flu saw people flocking to General Physicians to rule out H1N1. Initially, a few physicians overlooked the symptoms while some others took the liberty to ‘diagnose’ the symptoms to be of that of H1N1 without additional tests.
It cannot be overlooked that a few amidst us have dwindling respect for doctors and we are also influenced by several patients suing doctors for negligence. We look at medicine as a lucrative profession. But, once a doctor takes the Hippocratic oath, he or she owes to the patient complete loyalty and assures absolute secrecy.
Patients often complain that many doctors are procedure oriented, controlling, and lacking in feeling and effective communication. Though doctors, especially surgeons cannot always afford a chit chat with their patients or show sympathy, their relationship should not suffer due to lack of communication. Patients should essentially understand that in spite of all their degrees, doctors are not given any formal training in communication. To a doctor, the patient is a bundle of symptoms to be treated and his expert eye looks out to provide excellent treatment and a better quality of life. In his thought process to get rid of what comes in the way of one’s health, the doctor may overlook the necessity of a friendly smile or a much awaited pat on the shoulder. For jittery patients like me, a simple smile can be more comforting and reassuring than a week’s course of antibiotics.
It is very important to place trust in your doctor, especially a surgeon if you are diagnosed with conditions like cancer or heart disease and are on treatment. Trust, along with medicine can work wonders. Remember that doctors can’t read minds and we have to tell them if something doesn’t work for us. We also have to tell them of any underlying medical conditions or any other information that we might know about our own body.
Doctors are as important as teachers and are essential as long as we want to live a healthy life. Many of us have a fear of doctors and needles, which refrain us from getting our medical conditions diagnosed and treated accurately. Do some homework and feel free to ask your doctor any questions you might want to gain more knowledge about your condition. Right diagnosis at the right time with the help of honest information and feedback can certainly save lives.
Albeit, if health is lost something indeed is lost.