Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sweets and Lemons

After shadowing a few doctors around, I definitely have my own opinions of bad doctors and the better ones, and sometimes I wonder if the patients would agree with me. For me, I have my own opinions of which doctors connect to patients in meaningful ways, and the patients surely have theirs. Since we are all humans, I hope that after trying my best to put myself in their shoes, the patients and I would agree on who cares and who only pretends to. I can tell, to some extent, which ones know their shit and which ones are just making stuff up, but unfortunately the patients mostly cannot.
But people relations and knowledge do not a doctor make. It's the craft of weaving the two together that does, and the glue, in my humble opinion, is confidence. To the unknowing eyes of patients, confidence seems to be everything, and it should be everywhere. Because patients cannot tell when doctors make stuff up, they look for correlations, and the sure-fire correlation with knowledge, in the patient psyche, is confidence. If a doctor acts like he knows something, he probably does. If he is soft-spoken, flustered, confused-looking, he is probably a lemon.
But from my observation, the correlation is, unfortunately, hardly reliable. Many doctors are solid on their medical knowledge but are regrettably un-confident, while the confident-appearing ones are sometimes just shooting in the dark. Both are bad doctors, but not to everyone. The former are bad doctors in the patients' eyes, while the latter are worse doctors from an insider's point of view. The former may do harm, while the latter are just ineffective. It's like choosing between...Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin, except both of them were so bad I don't know if Clinton is necessarily worse per se.
Either way, it is simply sad that good doctors don't shine, while the bad ones successfully send patients to the wrong test over and over again, and it all hinges on confidence. It is the glue that make candies sticky...
While the lacking lemons go sour...

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