I had an argument with a friend the other day. On doctors and the etiquette one has to maintain when speaking to one. My friend was of the very fierce opinion that one should not question a doctor. My first response was something on the lines of ‘What the..’. And so, she and I thought we should ask a bigger audience on what’s the ok and not-so-ok things to ask (or not to ask?) a doctor.
Let me give you her argument and mine – obviously, mine will sound more convincing since this is my blog and she’s lazy enough never to have had one.
I believe in questioning. Not interrogating or cross-questioning, mind you, just pure questions to know what the heck is the problem with my health. One of the banes of being an educated person is that one will find it hard to accept something eyes closed. If I’m being prescribed a certain medicine, I’d like to know why and how it will cure me. If I’m being put on an antibiotic course for a common cold, I’d like to know why. Because it’s my body and my health that’s in the picture.
And I hate assumptions. If the doctor doesn’t say anything about a diet restriction, I cannot assume that I can eat normally. If the doctor doesn’t mention the side effects of a certain medicine or procedure, I cannot assume there won’t be any. I ask. I ask if I need to avoid certain foods or if I should be taking a painkiller. And for the world of me, I don’t see anything wrong with it!
My friend disagrees completely. She thinks that every question I ask of the doctor reflects my inability to accept the doctor, gives an impression that I don’t trust the doctor! After the ususal ‘Oh my God’ and ‘What the hell is wrong with you? How can you think that?’, I tried explaining to her that one can never never never assume anything when it comes to medical treatments. But no, it’s not like that apparently. If the doctor doesnt voluntarily (I repeat, VOLUNTARILY) give you any information, you have no right to ask about it. If you don’t have to know, the doctor won’t tell you. If the doctor tells you something, that’s all you know and all you need to know. To me, that’s absurd!
Her thumb rule? No questions to the doctor and speak only when you’re spoken to. She even went one step further and said that a doctor has every right to be irritated with me if I ask too many questions!! Again, WTH?!
So, blog-readers, help us out. Please to let us know how you deal with your doctors. Does it show lack of trust if I ask my doctor questions regarding my treatment? Is it ok to make assumptions if the doctor doesn’t give me the information upfront? And if there’s a doctor reading this, does it irk you when patients ask you questions about treatments and medicines? How much information is a patient entitled to regarding his/her treatment?
Let me know you opinions in the comment space, please!