HAWMC Day 7: Breaking News…Doctors ARE NOT Gods!

Posted: April 7, 2013 in Doctor-Patient Communication, Evidence-based treatment, Research, symptoms and diagnostics, Technology
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Day 7

This is another reformatted and edited blog from last years WEGO Challenge – we need some variety, WEGO!!

DISCLAIMER: Sarcasm below. If you don’t like the truth shrouded in sarcasm, please don’t continue. This post is in no way meant to disrespect the medical profession, but is simply intended to draw attention to the paradigm shift in doctor-patient communications in the 21st century, and how patients should adapt to the change.

Headline: Doctors are not Gods – World is shocked.

After todays announcement...this attitude will be changing.

After todays announcement…this attitude will be changing.

Millions were shocked today when headline news agencies around the world announced the results of an 18-month undercover operation by local news investigative reporters: doctors don’t know everything! Recent examination of the plethora of anecdotal accounts now present on the Internet show that many doctors may be treating patients based on what what’s covered in medical school, and what they learn through the research of their colleagues, not on the divine communication with the collective unconsciousness or their ancestors.

The historical, paternalistic manner in which we, as consumers of health care were “taught” to deal with health care professionals is no longer a valid, efficient or recommended manner in which to approach the doctor-patient relationship. There are so many new illnesses, syndromes and disorders being classified and redefined each year. Existing diagnoses are now more thoroughly researched than ever before in history, so there is no possible way that doctors could amass all this information in their brain for easy retrieval when a truly challenging patient walks through the door. This means that a human neurologist could not possibly be an expert on diagnosing all conditions that may fall under the heading of his or her speciality. Therefore, looking to doctors to tell you exactly what do, no questions asked, is no longer the recommended approach to being a mere patient.

As healthcare consumers, we have the right to ask questions and get logical, cogent and informed answers. A good doctor that doesn’t know the answer to a question – one that has realized and accepted his non-deity status and human form – would likely research the question on the professional internet sites created especially for them, and get back to the patient with an answer. Or, if faced with a diagnostic challenge, the professional should refer the patient to a known specialist with research credentials, not just a dude with a schiester-esque website.

Doctors that have not received the “you are human” memo still treat their patients as if they were ignorant children, minimize the importance of the patient’s questions and proceed with a “just do as I say” lecture. Not good. If this happens, please seek out another physician that doesn’t have this attitude.

With clinical research information being widely accessible by all thanks to the Internet, patients are now bringing in research articles to their doctors and asking them for their professional opinions on what they have found. This was an essentially unthinkable act 15 years ago. After all, how DARE you think you know something the all-knowing doctors don’t know! The horror! Many doctors are embracing this – it saves them research time, gives them a jumping off place to start their own inquiries, or even (do I dare say) teaches them something new they may not have heard about!!
My husband often tells me not to bring up the research I find on my weird and rare issues, stating that “I don’t want to anger the doctor.” REALLY? Trying to advocate for the best health care possible is something I shouldn’t do because the doctor may be annoyed? If any of my doctors DID become annoyed, they would no longer be my doctor. It’s just that simple. I wouldn’t want an annoyed doctor to try to hit me with a bolt of lightening, or some other god-like anger response.

So, embrace the finding that doctors are really NOT the Gods they once thought they were, and proceed boldly, asking your doctor questions, researching your conditions, and even bringing in the professional research you’ve found that pertains to your condition (as long as it is not an article from Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, WebMD, Wikipedia or a Facebook forum) and sharing it. It could actually mean the difference between a quality life, and a life not worth living.

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