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.