“Two Ships Passing in the Night”: Missing Communication in Medical Practice
As I read the comments written to the threads on patient modesty, hysterectomy, “I hate doctors”, it seems to me that a basis for much of the tension and unhappiness with the medical profession is related specifically to a lack of communication between doctor and patient or the patient’s families. The patients fail to tell the doctor what are their goals and wishes and the doctor doesn’t ask and therefore may set goals or actions which appear appropriate to the clinical situation but in fact is not at all what the patient wants. It’s almost like two ships passing in the night, each going their own way, each with their own goals and experiences but not communicating with each other to warn, perhaps, about rough seas ahead or the conditions aboard ship.
This communication gap in medical practice, I think, is related to lack of time or simply ignorance or inattention on the part of the physician and the apparent power difference between the patient and doctor so that the patient may feel embarrassed, intimidated or unsure about the consequences of speaking out.
What are your ideas about the issue of doctor-patient communication? Don’t write about the specific views covered in the above threads, which can be more appropriately discussed by writing directly to those threads, but write here about your views of whether you see communication generally as a problem and what approaches you would offer to mitigate the problem. ..Maurice.
Graphic: Photograph by me of two snails passing and color modified by Picasa3.