Angry Doctor

Monday, November 14, 2005

Clues for the Clueless – Epilogue


That’s all I have for now.

Thanks for all the comments, both the ones criticising my position and those (few) agreeing. The 'correct' patient-doctor relationship is by no means immutable and in fact must change with time and social norms, and be individualised for each patient-doctor pairing.

The trend in the past few decades have been towards greater patient participation and autonomy. For this new paradigm to work, patients must play their part. It is vain to ask for more autonomy if the patient does not even understand or seek to understand the basic principles behind our practice, or continues to think in immature thought patterns.

And because it’s a two-way relationship, doctors must assert their views on what the proper patient-doctor relationship should be like.

A doctor’s right to minister to patients is not derived from the patients but from the professional body to which he belongs; he must practise according to standards set by that body and not just pander to patient demands.

A doctor’s right to minister to a patient is derived from the patient; the patient has a right to accept or refuse a treatment proposed by the doctor.

I guess that sums up my position.

Thank you for reading.


  • Dear angry doc,

    Great sum up. It provides a balanced view of things.

    I have also noticed that in Singapore's context, the patients have become educated with more information from first world developed health care systems. They know more and want more. But what has not caught up is the maturity of thought. People in Singapore are still very dependant on someone making decisions for them. Eg the govt or the doctor etc. They do not want to take responsibility and take initiative on their own. Furthermore when something does not work out, they will blame the external party but themselves.

    This is a mismatch in development of amount knowledge vs maturity of thought.

    Having a lot of knowledge does not mean really understanding all of it or being mature.

    Therein lies the problem. As such as doctors it is all the more challenging for us in this sort of system. There is little room for error. And we actually should strive much harder than any doctors in developed countries to help our patients.

    You are a good doctor. Keep the flames burning!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 14, 2005 10:02 am  

  • loved your series.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 14, 2005 5:47 pm  

  • have been refraining from commenting on your series, mostly ebcause what you've been saying makes perfect sense, and sums up quite well how i feel myself.

    maturity, mutual responsibility and respect, and the willingness to moderate desires adn expectations are all essential components of a successful doctor-patient relationship - sadly, components that are missing from most consultations here

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 14, 2005 10:39 pm  

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