“Why admit her in ICU for 5 days for an E-coli infection especially after you have isolated the bacteria through blood work and determined which antibiotics it is not resistant to?” I asked a reputed doctor.
What transpired for almost 20 minutes after this question was a classical offense-as-the-best-way-of-defense story. I was accused of being this new generation guy who reads up half-baked stuff on the internet and thinks they are more qualified than doctors. I was told to perform diagnosis and was told “bring anyone who can challenge my diagnosis”.
For the first few minutes of taking this onslaught, I was baffled. What did I say that made our डॉक्टर साब so angry? It was simply a question, a desire to understand what and why, something that is increasingly becoming a fundamental need in modern times.
It was only later did I realize that doctors in India aren’t really used to any kind of questioning, let alone a harmless information seeking question. We Indians have been living for decades in a deprived society sorely lacking education, awareness and more importantly lack of choice in which doctor you can go to. That made doctors “gods”.
That’s what is changing. The new gen is armed with a lot more education, medical information and the courage to ask questions. If a doctor is unwilling to have such conversation with patients and/or their relatives, they are putting themselves in grave danger. Not the danger of a lawsuit or a lost patient but the danger of becoming obsolete.
The new gen doctors have tremendous opportunity here to develop greater rapport and bond with the patient community by being responsive and by simply having conversations with them. The new era powered by the Internet and availability of information at your fingertips has established itself in the uprooting of traditional industries. Look around you: is travel industry the same, is retail industry the same? Healthcare services will be no exception.
It’s a wakeup call for doctors…