We are all responsible for the state of our health care and a good and sensible system will enable each citizen to cope with illnesses well. Yet between parents who compel their children to pursue a medical degree in the hope of a better future, a government that seeks to achieve a doctor patient ratio of a developed country and a private health care approach that attempts to raise profits and impress the public with specialized treatment and machines with fancy acronyms, it is the vulnerable patients who suffer.
To some of us, the issue of vulnerable patients usually applies to someone else. It's not my problem. The system and the government know the best so don't worry about it. Has one wondered why millions are spent in campaigns to stop smoking, yet at airports and on planes, pride of place is given to tobacco (and alcohol) products? Thus, do we really have an effective healthcare system that cares for us beyond the mere peso and dollar? Ultimately we are at the mercy of the system that governs us.
The fragility of the human body is such the most of us will require medical attention in our life. At some point, perhaps even tomorrow, it might be you. What do you want from your doctor?
Medical education is more than the mere repetition of factual data. In an education system that thrives on rote learning, new doctors whose brains serve as large hard disk drives may be able to regurgitate large amounts of facts which may or not be relevant to the situation at hand. This may be impressive. But knowledge without attitude and skills may leave the application of medicine seriously flawed.
When afflicted with a disease and a consultation with a doctor beckons, do ask yourself what are the important qualities that you wish to have in your doctor? A doctor filled to the brim with facts will not be very effective if he or she doesn’t ask the right questions and or have the skills to examine you in a way that preserves your dignity
And what if the right questions are asked? Are doctors trained to listen? Will they listen to all that you wish to say or merely to listen to what they want to hear? Will they only listen to the words, but not the emotions or the silence between the words? Will they be interested in your suffering or merely look for the symptoms that fit the description of the disease that they wish to label you with?
Will the doctor in front of you, treat you in a way that makes you special and cared for?