Thursday, March 26, 2009

Trust Me, I'm a Doctor

I’ve spent the best part of yet another week in the company of around 90 front line healthcare employees running 5 workshops including some on the development of electronic patient records.

I use a family analogy to illustrate to delegates the changing world we live in.

My Mum, God bless her, is 80 next month and regularly goes to the doctor. If the doctor told Mum to take a cold shower every day she might be tempted to do it (slight exaggeration of effect – sorry Mum) because she has been brought up to believe that the doctor is one step removed from God himself. There is terrific respect for the doctor.

My daughter is 28 and has two sons. Is she goes to the doctor about herself or the two boys she will challenge the doctor in a friendly but assertive way asking why this medication, why that treatment etc, It’s not that she does not trust the doctor, its just that she has more information than my Mum, thanks largely to information technology.

I am somewhere in the middle at aged 56. I want desperately to trust everything the doctor says because that’s how I was brought up by my parents and that was always the culture. And then part of me is like my daughter in that I know I have the right to challenge the doctor and not be made to feel or look like a fool.

We are living through interesting times where there is probably a generational shift among patients about their perception of the role and status of the doctor.

Fascinating times and with the growth of information technology and information access I can see a day when my grandchildren will want to know even more about their health. Despite coming from the generation I do I am excited about that.

Doctors are terrific people – I have worked with literally thousands in my career but they are not beyond reproach.

In the words of the great song by Bob Dylan - "The times they are a changing"

Fascinating ….. I'd love to hear what you think about this one.


J.KANNAN said...

A Doctor is Trust, Faith & Truth- That's how I view at Medical Doctors.

An excellent and innovative concept to develop electronic patients records.Its too great of you, are able to spend time with health care employees in a very useful and fruitful way which ultimately will benefit patients, amongst your busy and tight schedule with marathon, carers, travels,blogging etc. etc. I think, better I learn some of the time management skills from you.

Older people do respect and rever Doctors as they see God in them to protect and prevent from diseases and cure the disease when it affects people.

Info Tech has done immense and good support to health care and medical profession and 'am sure it will continue to develop and improve in interest of meducalprofessuon and for the benefit of patients.. The generation shift/gap do exist amongst patients about their perception about Doctors and it will continue to be so-This applies to my country too.

Doctors should believe and consider that they are into a noble profession to cure the diseases, and save the lives of people if only they believe and bear in mind "God created people and Doctors cures the diseas,protect and save the lives of people sufferring from ill health and diseases.

A Doctor means what to human society? A lot-Look at it....

T..... Treates
R......Recovers (helps to)

Valuable, Great and humane responsibilities and services are of Doctors.-TRUST DOCTORS.


Trevor Gay said...

Hi JK – We all need to improve our time management skills I guess. I am a busy person and I work at a fast pace. I love to be busy and I love variety. I nevertheless recognise that I could manage my time far more effectively and get even more work done. Time management is a never ending battle for me. I share your view about Doctors having spent all my career working with them. They are great people and whilst the occasional doctor will let the profession down that can be said of any profession. There are always bad apples. I think we place higher expectations and standards on our doctors and in my experience they respond magnificently.

Tim Blair said...

I totally agree with this diagnosis : ) of how different generations view Doctors. I too have a Daughter that is 28 with 2 children and she also questions he Doctor, but probably even to a greater extent because she and her husband are organic farmers and question every medication. I think she probably has her mind already made up as to treatment when she takes her kids to a Physician who for her has just become a dispensary of what ever particular medication she deems best for her children from the research she has done.

I am just over 50 and this has influenced me also, I don't always take a Dr.'s recommendation for treatment and do quite a bit of my own healing with herbal remedies, etc.

My dad, who in the late stages of Parkinson's will take anything the Dr. gives him without question and always has.

I look forward to seeing if this is true with most of your readers, it will have a significant impact on how we view the medical field in the future.


Trevor Gay said...

Tim - good to hear of the family similarities to mine –almost a case of SNAP!

I am sure my two Grandsons (3yrs old and 1year old) will have a totally different relationship with their own doctor when they are adults of 50 than the type of relationship I enjoy now!

I am excited by the possibilities because I am sure the best way to live a healthy lifestyle is motivation from within rather than being told what to do by professionals.

Youngsters in the future will be ‘information thirsty’ about how to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

I think doctors may be cautiously pleased when their patients are more informed.

A patient who has done some research and has thought enough about his/her condition that they can say "I have noticed thus and so. It happens this often, it's made worse by that and this is what relieves it sometimes" is easier to diagnose than a pt who says "I don't feel well' and then looks expectantly across the desk at the doctore to prescribe the appropriate treatment.

And just imagine how ecstatic doctors would be if their patients followed all the good advice out there and slept well, ate well, used their God-given talents to help better the world and moved joyously and vigorously through life.

(and the savings to our public health system!)


Trevor Gay said...

Hi Lois – Hope you are well.

I have a friend who is a Vascular Surgeon. He likes it when patients come to his out patient clinic armed with the latest Google download about their condition. He says that shows the patient is well motivated to find out about the condition. It also keeps him on his toes professionally as he needs to be up to date with the latest papers. So patients are actually trainers of the doctor in that case. I have the greatest respect for doctors. In my experience they are highly motivated to care for patients – there can be fewer more responsible jobs.

steve said...

doctors are just like everyone else who has a specialty in life trevor. i have had too many of them make mistakes-real misdiagnosis-because they didn't care to pay enough attention to things and were too busy seeing as many patients as they could in as short a time. i will not go into other stories about doctors as there are some. suffice it to say: (a) i make my own decisions about my health and healthcare; (2) i have a very healthy distrust of the medical profession in general.
take care.

Trevor Gay said...

This is a subject that is influenced by our own experience of the medical profession. I’ve worked all my career with doctors and without fail they’ve been caring and conscientious people who want to to a good job for their patients. Occasionally there will be mistakes, oversights etc. just like in all professions. The accountability and the standards however must be much higher for doctors because their mistakes can be fatal. I’m really sorry to hear of your bad experiences with the medics - my own experiences as a patient have been good – albeit I rarely see a doctor –and I thank God every day for that.

Our National Health Service (NHS) has lots of critics and I am among them when things go wrong but as far as universal healthcare goes there are no better system in the world.

I’m passionate in defending our NHS but I am also critical of mistakes.

Scott Peters said...


I agree with your points on NHS, great system that has flaws as well.

I agree with JK. I have a wonderful Cardiologist and I'm not going to question his 25+ years of experience. This doesn't prevent me from asking questions and understanding procedures to prevent, as JK states, further disease.

I believe doctors are there to look out for our best interests in a balanced lifestyle. Nothing is going to prevent us from the inevitable death that awaits us all, and there are several people that want to blame doctors for this and that and preventing something, out of their control, from happening.

Most of our well-being is really left up to us and how we treat our temples.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Scott

The biggest impact on improving the health of the nation is through the preventative measures we can all implement. That is about lifestyle choices such as smoking, exercise, diet etc. Doctors, nurses and hospitals are very good at putting people back together and repairing people but we ourselves can do much more to prevent illness in the first place. You are so right about this.

Most of the financial resource in healthcare goes on treating illness rather than in prevention of ill health.

This is a great discussion and thanks again for your input Scott- much appreciated.

John O'Leary said...

I think the danger is when we consider a medical doctor to be a higher authority to whom we should surrender our judgment. I always consult an MD when I have a serious health issue, but I consult other healers as well. Most MD's are working within a confined paradigm of health. They usually know little about nutrition and natural remedies. Most maladies I've experienced over my lifetime were not helped or cured by medical doctors. Too many doctors I've known try to treat symptoms (almost always with pharmaceuticals) not causes. Like Tim's daughter I question every medication - and 99% of the time I refuse them.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi John – I think you are right to consult widely about health issues.

I believe alternative therapies are becoming much more accepted within the medical profession – certainly here in the UK.

There are still sceptics of course – especially in the medical profession and there always will be I suspect. I am pretty sure that ‘mind over matter’ is also quite often a good cure for many ailments.

There is plenty of room for traditional medical practice and other approaches – one of my best friends from 25 years ago is an Acupuncturist and he swear s it works for many patients. I have been to a chiropractor for a golf acquired back/shoulder problem 10 years ago and his treatment did the trick.

I also think you are right to urge a word of caution about medication prescribed.