Medical practice is based on science but is an art when it comes to establishing trust, mutual respect and good communications between doctors and patients. When you chose a doctor he or she needs to make a treatment plan based on family and individual history, self-report of symptoms, tests and state-of-the art research. The art part of a medical practice involves delivering treatment and services with compassion and care. Yet this isn’t always the case. Some doctors focus more on the science aspects and aren’t good working with people. Patient’s number one complaint against their doctors is that they don’t listen to them.
Poor communication creates and imbalance of power. For far too long patients have been intimidated by the authority figure presented by doctors. They believe doctors have God-like powers to heal them. This MDiety image is perpetuated by the American Medical Association, drug companies, the media and doctor’s themselves. Vulnerable patients relinquish decisions regarding their medical care. Frequently they don’t understand what is wrong with them and they seldom question decisions for treatment, tests or medications, leaving them even more vunerable and confused. No one is prefect, mistakes are made and consequently pateints suffer.
The truth is that doctors are just human beings who studied the human body and their knowledge is as good as the current state of medical research and how much they keep up to date on the latest information through continuing education, seminars, medical journals and medical conferences.
Patients need to become more proactive about their own care. Recognize and research symptoms and treatment options. Become more assertive when communicating with your doctor. Create a partnership relationship with your doctor, ask questions and get answers that you understand. Research medications on the Internet and watch for drug interactions, side effects and contraindications. Report any problems immediately. Your doctor is working for you. You hire him or her and you can fire him or her. If you are unhappy find another doctor that will work with you and respect your requests to get the best care available.
Pateints Bill of Rights:
1. To be treated with courtesy and respect
2. To be listened to without interuption.
3. To receive clear understandable answers to any questions
4. To participate in decisions that involve your health care both mental and physical
5. To be included in options about any diagnosis and treatments
6. To be informed about risks including medical/durg interactions, prognisis and expected outcomes of treatments
7. You have the right to accept or refuse any treatment
8.You have the right to have the results of any tests and treatments explained to you in understandable language
9. You have the right to access to all your medical records
10. You have the right to ask for support for any alternative treatments the may benefit you.
Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself!