Tue | May 23, 2017

WHO SHOULD DECIDE?

Published:Tuesday | September 29, 2015 | 9:00 AM

Seeking medical treatment is hardly ever a pleasant experience. It usually requires sacrifice. There are even times when there is conflict between what the health caregiver wants and what the client wants. So who should decide?

There was a time when a doctor's word was taken as gospel. Whatever the doctor says goes. That age is fast disappearing! With the access to information that currently exists, many persons are coming to the doctor after doing their own research about their medical conditions and even may have ideas about what treatment they may want. As the saying goes, though, 'a little knowledge is dangerous', and ideas that these persons may bring to the table may be totally inappropriate to their

situation.

There are many doctors who may be unaware of the knowledge that some clients may have and may want to dictate the management of their client's condition, which some may resent, especially those who are well educated.

The big question is, how much should a client's wishes influence a doctor's decision?

Some doctors may want to make their clients happy and give in to their demands. After all, if your client is happy, then he may be more likely to return, but if he is not, then he may seek help

elsewhere.

For example, a client comes in with a cold and asks for antibiotics. The easiest thing to do in this situation is to write the prescription for the antibiotic. The patient would be happy, and the doctor gets to move on to the next patient. Otherwise, he would have to explain to the patient why he is not prescribing the antibiotic, after which, the client may not be satisfied and seek help elsewhere.

In a situation where more and more doctors are operating privately, there is more competition, and this may have an influence on the

doctor's decision.

In some countries, the pressure on the doctor is even greater as clients put their reviews online for all to see, so an unhappy client can give a negative review, which may hurt the doctor's reputation. As a result, some doctors and institutions may go to great lengths to make their clients happy, even if it means treating them inappropriately.

When deciding on the most appropriate treatment, the doctor should educate the client and understand how much influence the client's wishes should have on his decision.