” THE GOOD PHYSICIAN TREATS THE DISEASE , THE GREAT PHYSICIAN TREATS THE PATIENT WHO HAS THE DISEASE”

” THE GOOD PHYSICIAN TREATS THE DISEASE , THE GREAT PHYSICIAN TREATS THE PATIENT WHO HAS THE DISEASE”

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The doctor-patient relationship has been and remains a keystone of healthcare in community. In ancient era people would seek medical remedies from ‘vaidya’ and had faith in him. He was family physician for the people. The guidance ,co-operation and to lesser degree mutual participation were distinguishing patterns of doctor-patient relationship.

For medical profession , Hippocratic oath established a code of ethics for doctor ,it also provided ’Bill of Rights’ for patients. The code emphasized the doctor’s attitude towards patient, “The regimen I adopt shall be for the benefit of my patients according to my ability and judgement ,and not for their hurt or for wrong…Whatsoever house I enter ,there will I go for the benefit of the

Sick ,refraining from all wrongdoing or corruption and especially from any seduction,of male or female ,of bond free. Whatsoever things I see or hear concerning the life of men,in my attendance on the sick or even apart there from,which ought not be noised abroad ,I will keep silence thereon ,counting such things to be as sacred secrets”.

Previously doctor would be called as GOD and his word was final for the patients.Patients never used to doubt doctor’s skill and approach towards patient.

Becoming a doctor was considered to be a noble profession but scenario has changed for last two decades. The doctor who was treated respectfully by society is now beaten by that society.People don’t think of sacrifices which he/she made for becoming a doctor.

“Stethoscope is the costliest jewellery to wear in the world ,it costs your whole youth”

Currently the scenario changed from GOD to people thinking of him now selfish person. Still many doctors are praised for their service but very little section of society holds this attitude. Doctor used to treat patients on the basis of his clinical knowledge which he acquired through years of practice and hard work and this created good rapport between doctor and patient. Now a days ,due to advances in diagnostic technology ,doctors are relying on tests and advising investigations added to financial burden on patient and this is one of the reason creating bitterness in doctor-patient relationship. After implementation of Consumer Protection Act, doctors included under provisions of act also widened gap in doctor-patient relationship. Communication gap is widening between doctor and patient as less time given to patient’s complete history taking and discussion to create good rapport. Inspite of all efforts if something untoward happens, the relatives hold doctor responsible. People should realise that under certain critical conditions of patients, every patient can’t be saved even by greatest doctor. Sometimes there might be negligence from doctor side but such incidences are very few.

Some political persons or media person also make doctor ,a soft target to get publicity by creating negative picture of medical profession in society. Political or some public comments like doctors are charging at higher rates ,doing unnecessary surgeries, writing expensive drugs widens gap in doctor –patient relationship. Political persons instead of directly talking in public,they should discuss issues with medical committees or governing bodies so that further bitter consequences can be avoided.

Another contemporary effect on doctor-patient relationship has been the exponential increase in the use of internet by patients. Better patient education has obvious advantages for mutual relationship ,there are concerns that information on the internet might not always be accurate and reliable. This poses a new challenge for the medical professional-that of revising any misinformation the patient has found him or herself.

For a community to get good healthcare services, doctor-patient relationship needs to be in harmony .Increasing communication between two sides is an important step to improve relationship. Keeping patient and relatives aware of critical conditions that might occur during disease course will help to avoid unnecessary misunderstanding .Media should project positive and good aspects of medical profession also. If any patient or relatives have complaint of doctor ,then they should approach appropriate authority or governing bodies instead of taking law in hand .There is provision of legal action for misbehaving with medical professionals but it has not created much impact in society. The law should be strictly implemented to safeguard medical profession.

By dispensing information in a manner that maximizes understanding is a prerequisite for more equal participation. Shared decision making between the doctor and patient will determine the most appropriate and best course of action for an individual patient.

Doctor is human being and needs to be treated as human ,not required to be a GOD. Good doctor-patient relationship is need of hour for healthy society.

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Dr Balu Madhukar Patil | Proud member of MEDGAG | Author

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