Friday, May 3, 2013

What not to tell your patients - Message to Sri Lankan doctors with love

(picture credit -

I was tempted to write this after listening to this particular incident in couple of family get-togethers. This is about a very simple statement made by a doctor with a good heart, but resulted ruining a whole family. I thought I should write it down.  Because in case if there are any young doctors who are willing to search and find what not to tell your patients, this could be a great example.

Since I started my heading with "message to Sri Lankan doctors" , I think I should write a declaration as well before I annoy any of my doctor friends who do not have much logic :D
I do believe Sri Lankan doctors are the most talented in the world when it comes to diagnosis. Same as I do believe most of them are suitable for the word "God" when it comes to service. So this post does not mean any disrespect to the profession, and I do agree that you need to be very intelligent to be a doctor. So no argument about your qualifications and my dumbness :D. If you are not humble enough to listen to me, just do not read any further. It won't help.
Back to the story. I have this aunt who is very good. In every family occasion, she tells everyone that Doctor professor so and so (since I do not have proof other than what my aunt and uncle says I do not publish his name) said that my uncle (her husband) is a criminal. And why the doctor said that? According to my aunt, its because my uncle has forced my cousin (their son) to do a computer degree. He is a heart patient and doing a computer job will eventually kill him fast. So that's why the doctor has mentioned my uncle as a criminal.
I'm someone who belives that every story has two sides. So I decided to ask my uncle and cousin on their side of this story. Unfortunately, the doctor was too big in category, so I could not meet him. Even if I meet him, I do not think he will remember such a small statement or a patient.
What my cousin said about this -
"I have a feeling, she is suffering from depression, but I'm not a doctor to guess it. She has suffered so much with her in-laws and now she is not in good mental situation. She just worries too much about my health, so I can understand her feeling as well. My father never forced me to do a computer degree. That was the only thing I was good at and that was the only job I wanted to do all my life. It was my decision to select it. I do a annual medical check up and all my reports including my heart reports are perfect up to date. "
What my uncle said about this -
"I think my wife has depression. She never comes to go to a doctor to take medicine for that. When I ask her to come, she scolds me saying "do you think I'm crazy?" . So I don't know what to do. This incident happened 15 years back when my son was doing A/Ls. He too was bit of a depressed child thanks to the mental condition of the mother. Suddenly one day, after a tragic incident I brought him to a physiatrist. That physiatrist was very good and were able to cure him completely. She (physiatrist) advised me that "let him do the things he like to do". My son said he wants to do a computer degree after A/Ls and his mother is forcing him not to. Because the mother has listened to a tv programme which a doctor has said that computers are not good for those who have heart conditions. But my son's request was not unfair. I had to consider his mental health before anything else. So I took the blame and told my wife, he will do a computer degree and it is my decision. Because the way we bought up our son, he had no courage to stand up for what he like and go against his mother's will. Then my wife has gone and meet this particular doctor she saw in tv and told him that I forced my ill son to do a computer degree. Doctor has asked to come with me the next day. I went with her without knowing that what she has told the doctor before. As soon as the doctor saw me he blasted me saying "You are such a criminal to force your son to do a computer degree. You will be responsible if something happens to him". He did not ask me anything. He just scolded and went off. He has never treated my son or has never met him. My son is a very happy adult today. Doing a good job, happily married, doing what he like and in perfect health too. I'm happy about the decision I took that day. Only sadness is that I failed to do anything about my wife's health."
My message to doctors - As you can see, all parties in this story have their own reasonable story. No black or white people here. My opinion is doctors need to be very careful about what they say on public media and how they advice their individual patients. The professor here should have actually asked my uncle on his side or ideally should have spoken to my cousin who was 18 years (old enough to explain) at that time. People out there listening to you is not as educated as you. People out there believing you as Gods may not analyses or question something you say. Every child is different. Every story has even more than two sides. If you can, think about the social and mental upliftement of a person while thinking of the good health. For example this doctor in this story should have thought what's wrong with doing a computer degree if the child likes it. Its not that father has raped the child or force him to go kill someone. Have some logic. Do not just buy what your patients say.
I shall end my post with the famous quote from Stan Lee writer of "Spideman"
"With great power, comes great responsibility." !!!
With that in mind, happy reading. Have a great time, until we meet again :)

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