The formerly revered title of being a Doctor is now undergoing pessimistic defamation. Doctor bashing seems to have become a national sport. We often callously accuse our Doctors of being ‘money-minded’, ‘having long waiting hours’, not being ‘knowledgeable’ enough, and trying to ‘kill us with pills’. But have we ever wondered how we are as patients? Have we put any effort to understand our bodies and learn about health-related topics? Have we verified health-related information before blindly believing it? Here are a few tips on how to be a better patient and avoid being medically ignorant.
Take time to learn the Anatomy of the Human Body
Our bodies are a home we live in forever. I’m not saying, open up the latest version of Grey’s Anatomy, but instead, refer basic Anatomy Encyclopedia’s. It only takes a couple of hours to understand the basic model of a Human Skeleton, the names and functions of important organs and the difference between arteries, veins, and nerves. Reader’s digest Know Your Body, is a great book where two characters, Joe and Joan give a clear and vivid description of all the organs in the human body and leave us with a sense of wonder upon completing it.
Learn the basics about common diseases and stay informed
Learning to differentiate between diseases that are caused by bacteria, virus, and parasites, helps us have a better understanding of the truth about the way it spreads, its natural history and the treatment modality that our Doctor has prescribed to us. It’s essential to know and understand that Bacterial infections require antibiotics, refusing to take them could cause serious consequences. Viral fevers require only fluids and rest, there’s little your Doctor can do apart from prescribing you an antipyretic.
Avoid trying to teach your Doctor, Medicine
It has been found that studying any subject or topic for an hour every day, for five years, enables you to Master that subject. Our Doctors(Allopathy) have studied their subjects for a minimum of four hours a day for eight years, even more, if you include the long nights that they stay up to read. As much as it itches us to contradict our doctors and teach them Medicine with the profound knowledge we gained, from an hour of scrolling through Google and Wikipedia right before entering the clinic, we should exhibit some self-control and hold back from it. However, if we are apprehensive or confused, it’s better to ask as many questions as it takes, politely and get our doubts cleared instead.
Refrain from Doctor shopping
A second opinion is fine and is recommended by almost every Doctor. But, constantly making frequent trips to Allopathy, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Unani, and the local quack, to say a quick hello and discuss that same problem, is not going to sort anything. Let’s try to stick to a treatment regime, be compliant with it, have patience with the medicines and give them time to work. Let’s also try going that extra mile by using that travel-time and money into incorporating some positive lifestyle changes to help us be fit.
Always know your source of health-related information
With social media forwarding huge amounts of information every day, I understand its hard for us to differentiate what is legit from what’s not. It’s certainly hard accepted that, contrary to what we read on WhatsApp, unfortunately, Garlic doesn’t cure coronavirus, since it cures everything else right? So why wouldn’t it cure COVID-19? Steroids if used in the right doses for the right conditions, are a wonder drug? Really? All these days I thought my Doctor was trying to croak me when he said the word steroid. Always know your source, and stick to legit sources like Mayo Clinic, Cleaveland Clinic, National Institutes of Health, American Diabetes Association and Drugs.com
Understand that being a Doctor is a Profession
We must try to understand that even Doctors have families to look after, bills to pay and children to educate. Also, the cost of medical education is sky high all around the world, hence, a lot of Doctors have huge loans to clear. Expecting a reasonable consultation fee is certainly our right, but we must also remember that being in India, we can choose the Doctor we go to based on our health expenses budget.
Understand that Every Profession has its share of rotten apples
No profession is perfect, and neither is any person. Yes, there have been some medical scams, yes there can be a few unethical people who are Doctors. However, which profession doesn’t have their share of these? It’s best to avoid wrongfully Doctor Bashing the entire community including our family doctor over this and then sheepishly walking back into their clinics when we need them.
Educate the future generation about health and medicine
My brother is 10 years old and already owns two anatomy dolls with removable parts. Anatomy dolls are a great way to educate children about the Human Body and enable them to have a better understanding of it. Operation Ouch, A British Children’s(Adults love it too) show is great at educating kids about the way the body works and the basic injuries that can occur. Educating the future generation is a good way to put an end to ignorance and be healthy and wise.