Sunday, December 28, 2008

In Doctors We Trust



In Doctors We Trust

“While surgical patients spend an average of just one hour researching their surgical procedure or their surgeon, they spend significantly more time researching any of the following:

  • Changing jobs (10 hours)
  • Buying/leasing a new car (8 hours)
  • Buying a big ticket item for their home > $1,000 (5 hours)
  • Planning a vacation > $1,000 (4hours)”

Does this reflect:

1. an extraordinary degree blind trust that patients automatically place in doctors?

2. a high degree of difficulty and overwhelming obstacles to access and process the necessary information to accurately assess doctors?

3. unquestioning deference and resignation, on the part of the patient, to the dictates of insurance and the HMO?

4. discomfort, on the part of the patient, in judging a professional such as a doctor?

5. a form of denial and ignorance about their own health, on the part of the patient, creating an 'I don’t want to know, just fix me’ attitude?

6. poor doctor /patient communications creating patient fear and intimidation?

Whatever the cause, it is a sad commentary on our priorities.

We have abdicated our personal responsibility for our health, the most important possession we own, to doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and Big Pharma.

Is it really any wonder why we are so sick?

In a NY Times article: Do Patients Trust Doctors Too Much Dr. Thomas Russell, executive director of the American College of Surgeons, said: “Today, medicine and surgery are really team sports and the patient, as the ultimate decision maker, is the most important member of the team.”

The article’s author, Pauline Chen, MD, concludes: “a healthy doctor-patient relationship does not simply entail good bedside manners and responsible office management on the part of the doctor. It also requires that patients come to the relationship educated about their doctors, their illnesses and their treatment.”

(Note: the comment thread at the end of the NYTimes article, on-line, are fascinating and worth reading)



3 comments:

yobro said...

hey, the survey article you linked to by the College of Surgeons included some interesting and relevant "get off your butt" info, regarding what to do about that sorry state of affairs. problem is you've got to get to it before you need the operation. the questions they suggest are a good start, and can be applied to many health-related activities: "can I die from this?" etc. we've got to dig ourselves out of the grave we're digging (for ourselves) by our own inaction. "got a shovel?"
-yobro

Anonymous said...

DocMay, You've been busy writing! The last few posts are truly excellent (as always). A VERY Happy New Year to you and the family! :-) -Ray

Anonymous said...

DocMay, You've been busy writing! The last few posts are truly excellent (as always). A VERY Happy New Year to you and the family! :-) -Ray