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Patient-Doctor Relationship

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Rahul Poddar 90% (896 ratings)
MBBS, DNB (General Surgery), MNAMS (Membership of the National Academy) (General Surgery) , Fellowship In Minimal Access Surgery, Fellow of Indian association og gastro intestinal endo surgeons
General Surgeon, Ghaziabad  •  13 years experience
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Hello friends!

I am Dr. Rahul Poddar. We are here to discuss a common problem of patient-doctor relationship. Often patients are hesitant about how to discuss their problems with the doctor. Especially this relationship needs a very depth a very trust between the two and in such a short period it becomes very difficult to attain this.and so the aim of our today’s discussion is to make this a little easier. The first thing that we need to understand is the aim of our discussion is to make it clear to the patient how to approach their doctor how to ask the doctor about their queries things they should ask and how to make their treatment more effective better and less painful and how to improve the outcomes.

Often patients understanding makes this part a lot variable. Better the understanding between the doctor and the patient the better is the outcome of the disease the better the patient cope up with the problem the better is the result of the same treatment between one patient to the other patient it varies just because of one single factor the doctor has to do his role but the patient also has a very big role. Often this role is undermined and ignored. People come to the hospital and they want doctors to treat them. But this is often not understood in the society that patient has got a very important role in their own treatment. So to start with first a person who has to undergo treatment the moment he realizes that he has a problem he has some disease he visits a doctor. From that moment the treatment starts from the patient side and from the doctor side. And the patient the more important part is actually from the patient side and his treatment does vary because how much he understands his disease and the treatment part.

Or if any surgical procedure is required that becomes even more serious. His understanding is even more required in that case. So the first part is to understand what disease he is having what organ is affected. And what are the consequences of the disease itself how the disease will affect his body and for this although it requires a lot of courage and often it gives depression it gives anxiety to patients but he is an inevitable part of life and once it has happened it has to be accepted? And to start with the first thing the patient should discuss with his doctor is about his disease. Often patients do not ask what is the disease they just ask what is the treatment. They just want some tablets to be prescribed and they just want to be fine after that. This is not how the treatment goes. First, you have to understand that you have a disease and there are consequences. And you have to understand that. With all the required courage with all the required trust in the doctor.

Now understanding the points that are to be asked to the doctor first thing that you have to ask is what disease you have what organs that are affected and what are the consequences. This we have already discussed. Then you should understand what is the prognosis of the disease. Prognosis means how the disease progresses how the disease affects the life, what will the quality of life how much life is expected after that disease and is the disease completely curable or its partially curable or it not curable. The second thing that after you understand the disease you should try to understand what treatment can make it better, what treatment can recover you from the disease. Now that recovery can be complete or incomplete or partial. Whatever the maximum recovery is possible with various treatment options. Treatment options can vary from medical treatment surgical treatment para medical modalities are there diagnostic modalities which help in gaining the information about the disease and planning the treatment.

Often patients approach me considering that approaching a surgeon means getting surgery this is not true. Approaching a surgeon can also mean undergoing medical treatment or undergoing surgical treatment. Now often most of the disease have many options it's not like one disease one treatment. It may have a medical treatment option it may have a watchful expectancy treatment or it may have surgical treatment. Even the surgical treatment have various options more radical form more conservative form and sometimes even the anesthesia varies the same procedure can be done in different anesthesias. And different anesthesias have different risks. So all these things have to be decided and for this decision to be taken the responsibility lies both on the doctor and the patient.

And often this responsibility is left on the doctor but this makes the treatment very difficult for the doctor because it increases the responsibility to a great extent and if the patient shares this responsibility the treatment becomes much better. If the patient understands what treatment he has to undergo and what options he has all the effects all the benefits and the risks of those options all the complications each has a different complication and there is no treatment which is 100% successful or 100% guaranteed that there will be no complication. Even a simple injection can lead to death in the greatest hospitals of the world. So coming to the last part of today’s discussion.

The next and last part is that a patient should understand what precautions or what changes in the lifestyle he will have to undergo. If he undergoes a certain treatment or some other treatment or if he doesn’t undergo any treatment and he should understand what is the goal of the treatment. Often the goal may be to recover from the disease or maybe the goal for partial recovery and a goal may be just to prevent further complications and some times the goal is just to make a diagnosis. So the goal has to understand every treatment or every procedure has its goal and has its limitations. And the next thing that he has should understand that what precautions or what changes in lifestyle will happen after the treatment and often the treatment is in multiple parts its not like one part is over and to complete the treatment he may undergo in another part of the treatment like cancer if surgery is done often chemotherapy is required. And for the different surgeries for the same cancer different follow of different modality is often planned. That would depend on the primary treatment. And so a patient has to be ready for all these changes in his lifestyle that will happen forever often forever. So don’t hesitate in sharing your personal history don’t hesitate in asking any query and make your treatment most effective.

Best of luck!

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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