The situation of Bangladesh’s medical arena is no less stressful than a war. The conflicts between patients and doctors are a regular thing. In addition, the situation doesn’t seem to improve. Why? The doctors in Bangladesh are one of the most hard working and an overworked bunch of people one can find in the world. The patients, too are also struggling to cope with the system. Let us take a look at two incidents:
Mr ‘X’, 45 years old, was admitted in the hospital with the complaints of repeated pain in the abdomen. His appointed consulting doctor examined him and gave him a list of tests with some low dose medicine. He said he would like to see the test results first before putting him on any long-term medication course. After completing the test, he went back to the doctor with the reports. The doctor examined the reports, gave him some more tests, and told him to come back with the reports. Mr ‘X’ got furious, accusing him of giving unnecessary investigations and dishonesty. He never went back to that doctor as well as started saying that doctors in Bangladesh had become very dishonest and only cared for money rather than patients.
Mrs ‘Y’, 60 years, was brought to a clinic 2 hours after a road traffic injury without any first aid by her son. She was bleeding severely with a visibly broken leg. She was screaming from pain and was becoming paler every second. In the emergency section, attending doctor started her treatment, stopped her bleeding, cleaned her injury, and took other necessary steps for further surgical intervention.
Before moving her to the operation theatre, she was given an injectable painkiller to reduce the pain. Unfortunately, on her way to surgery, she collapsed and died. Following her death, her son called upon some of his friends and started chaos in the clinic as he felt the lack of responsibility of the health care personnel of that clinic. Eventually, the mob beat up the doctor severely because they thought it was his ignorant steps that killed the Mrs. ‘Y’.
Observations from both incidents:
In the first case, the outcome was due to communication gap between doctor and patient. A patient has every right to know and decide his diagnostic and treatment plans. It is a doctor’s duty, to explain about the ongoing of the treatment to the patient in such a way that the patient can understand.
In the second case, the chaos was created due to lack of counselling about the condition of the patient to the attendant and not explaining the treatment procedure. A patient bleeding for 2 hours is a very unstable and this should have been explained to the attendant before starting any treatment. The patient or his/her legally entitled attendant deserves to know and has the right to choose the treatment plan.
A good example of Sir Isaac Newton’s law, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” is the relation between doctor and patient. An ideal patient deserves an ideal doctor. So, one should not only think about the rights of patients, but also know the responsibilities of a patient. In other words, what doctors expect from a patient as well.
An ideal patient should:
- Be cooperative
- Trust the doctor
- Not hide anything from the doctor
- Keep and provide all previous medical records
- Not give wrong information
If the patient is unconscious or disoriented or introvert, the legally entitled responsible attendant should follow these measures.
The present condition of the doctor-patient relationship in our country is very demoralizing. Patients ignore the fact that the doctors are a part of the health care system, not the whole system. It is up to both doctors and patients to reconstruct the relationship between them.
This is the first part of the series. Keep your eyes glued to for the second and final part of the series.