01 July 2010
That relationship has changed over the years due to factors like urbanisation and emergence of nuclear families. There is a qualitative difference between older practitioners and newer ones. Increasing professionalism among doctors has also taken its toll.
Today, people have access to more information. Patients ask more questions, and sometimes also suggest the treatment. But this half–knowledge leads to self–medication. It is only when the ailment worsens that they come to a doctor, and then they expect instant cures !
Some patients do not want to spend on treatment, while some like to spend on unnecessary self–decided diagnostic tests. Some will rush first to a specialist. Awareness of rights like the Consumer Protection Act also leads to misunderstandings, and in worst cases even results in attacks on doctors and hospital staff.
To give his best, a doctor needs an environment where his mind is without fear. Anxiety makes doctors defensive. Even critical patients are asked to get tests done, or referred to a specialist, thus losing vital treatment time. Patients need to remember at all times that a doctor is not god, nor are medicines magic. But having faith in your doctor’s knowledge and abilities will help. So will following his advise and regular follow–ups.For the medical fraternity, it is essential to be well informed. Knowledge is doubling every four years and new super–specialities are emerging. The concept of group practice is good for the patient who can seek a second opinion. And doctors must be prepared to give them time and answer their queries.