TED Conversations


This conversation is closed.

As Dave stressed "Let patients help", my question is how can patients help their doctors?

The relation between a doctor and his/her patient is a relation of trust. If a doctor feels that he or she is not trusted enough, they may switch into defensive decision making process. And that would surely not yield good result. I personally believe that doctors treat their patients in best faith, but their treatment method may not be best. One of the vital resources "patient" is neglected till now. So how can patient help their doctor?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jul 6 2011: Having been through an uncommon and extreme medical condition, I had the opportunity to work with several doctors - some exceptionally wonderful and some not so good. I believe a patient can help a doctor in many ways.

    1. Understand that medicine is a science, but nothing is exact in the human body. Your doctor is attempting to interept what is happening and fix it at the same time. Nothing is absolute. On the journey of curing a diease, symptoms may change because you're cured, because another ismasking the original, because a drug is placating it... If you understand that your doctor is gathering facts and reacting, you can feed them more information.

    2. Comply with your doctor's requests or tell them you aren't going to. If they prescribe medicine or activities - fully comply with their requests. If it then does not work, it gives them more information to attempt to understand what is going on. If you don't agree with the request, tell them immediately, so no time is lost with them expecting you to do something you are not.

    3. Document your progress/lack of progress/ symptoms/ actions. This provides a doctor with valuable detailed information to help them diagnose what's happening. Vague "I don't feel well" doesn't help. "My stomache started hurting just after I ate pizza" or "My stomache has hurt after 8pm every night for the past two weeks" helps.

    4. Bring up ideas. Understand that what you find on the Internet is not a medical degree nor is it necessarily true. However, anything you think might match your situation, you should mention to your doctor. My great doctors shook their heads a few times and explained why my Internet discovery didn't fit my situation. My bad doctors got defensive that I even asked.

    5. Change doctors if you don't feel you are getting enough information or options. Do the old school doctor a favor and get off of his rotation. There are plenty of new-minded doctors who look forward to intelligent patients.
    • Jul 6 2011: Those were really concrete and nice points.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.