Do As I Say, Not As I Do
From the October 4, 2006 issue of ”The Australian” is an interesting article regarding Australian doctors and the issue of whether the doctor should follow health practices that they preach to their patients. Should an overweight doctor counsel overweight patients about their weight? The article also presents statistics from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners that suggest that doctors have their own problems which need attention.
- 57 per cent of general practitioners did not have their own GP, with 12 per cent nominating themselves
- 55 per cent undertook only low levels of exercise (compared with 38 per cent of the general population)
- 64 per cent had a post-vaccination test for hepatitis B, although almost half had a needle-stick injury in the past year
- 90 per cent had self-prescribed antibiotics, 30 per cent sleeping pills, 6 per cent opiate painkillers and 3 per cent antidepressants
- 26 per cent suffered from a medical condition warranting a medical consultation but felt inhibited about consulting a doctor
- Up to 25 per cent would treat themselves or not seek treatment for conditions such as alcohol and drug abuse or excessive tiredness, and 45 per cent for insomnia or sexual difficulty
- 19 per cent of doctors reported marital disturbance
- 18 per cent emotional disorders
- 3 per cent alcohol problems and 1 percent drug abuse.
A sad state of affairs for Australian GP’s; I doubt it is much better for United States physicians. One argument about whether the physician should counsel a patient with the same health issue as the patient is that the physician may have true empathy with the plight of his or her patient and this could be beneficial for the relationship.
Would you rather have an obese doctor talk to you about your need to loose weight or would you feel more comfortable if the advice came from a slim, trim physician? How about cautions against smoking by a physician who smokes? ..Maurice.