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Can Doctors be Fully Trusted – No

At the risk of being didactic, I suppose a clearer definition of being fully trusted might be helpful. Medicine is no different from other disciplines; some doctors love what they do and are talented at diagnosing and treating. Far too many continue their profession because they spent so much time in school and they don’t know how to do anything else. Medical school and residency is so stressful that doctors have little time to develop social skills. This can cause association issues; there are too many physicians who cannot relate to anyone; their patients get lumped into this category. If your doctor cannot relate to you, can he really care about you? Does this matter? It should.

One can trust his doctor to do his very best in diagnosing and treating, but that does not mean that the doctor realizes his limitations. In this sense, doctors who are otherwise trustworthy individuals are not really fully trustworthy to treat your ills. Most often doctors do not know their limitations and try to treat issues that they really have little knowledge of. This is especially true now in the era of declining reimbursement and bonuses for ordering less tests. Doctors have to see many more patients than they did in previous years just to make ends meet. Malpractice insurance is very high and this eats into their income.

Medicine is extremely stressful, and doctors have a free hand at self prescribing. Recreational drug abuse is not uncommon in the medical community. Years ago surgeons used cocaine because it helped steady their hands. Doctors are human, and they fall prey to the same ills as the rest of society; they can drink too much, use recreational drugs or participate in risky behavior. Since most physicians are very smart, they can mask the negative effects of these activities for a long time before a problem becomes obvious.

In the best of all possible worlds, your physician will be up to date on medical trends, he will be interested in your health and well being and he will love what he does. If you feel uncomfortable in any way with him, you should consider that perhaps he is not someone you want to put your full trust in.

Don’t be afraid to question your physician. If he is performing a procedure on you, ask him how many of these same procedures he has done before. Ask him how he came to choose his specialty. If you feel as though you need a second opinion, your doctor should not be offended. If he is capable and thorough, he will not feel threatened by your obtaining a second opinion. It’s your body, and even if you have a caring physician, he does not live in it and you are ultimately responsible to seek the best care available.