Please stop patronizing

People’s perception towards doctors in Nepali society is certainly not in tune with the changing times. This is heavily based on the tradition of reckoning certain professional

activity as more socially dignified and important over certain others.

I recently visited a well-known hospital at Chabahil, Kathmandu to see a doctor regarding a certain post-surgical change, which I have been experiencing for the past ten months. I was the first person in the queue according to my OPD ticket. I was already exasperated by the doctor showing up late. On top of that I had to vocally remonstrate with the doctor’s aide for helping other three patients jump the queue.

By the time the doctor called me, he was in a bad mood because of my mild protest outside. I told him about my health issue. I said, “To be on the safe side I wanted to get a doctor’s input because I had found from my internet search that my symptoms seemed to be a bit on the unusual side.” Then the miffed doctor said in a sarcastic tone that I had made a mistake by trying to look up the medical information on the internet. He was clearly not happy about me trying to familiarize myself with the possible causes of my symptoms through my internet search beforehand. But, had it been the situation that I had sought some crucial medical intervention on the basis of my internet search, his scoffing and mild scolding would have made sense. I defended myself saying, “I looked up on the internet merely to quench my personal curiosity. That’s why I’m here to be safe rather than sorry.”

This is not the first time I have found doctors with such mindset.  My point is, why do most of the doctors end up patronizing their service seekers? Why do they not provide their patients even relevant information doctors know from the medical sciences? Why do they always have to maintain a stern and no-nonsense kind of image with their patient? Why do they have to use the kind of handwriting which ordinary people cannot figure out?

It’s always better if doctors, or people from any professional fields for that matter, realize this is the age of information technology and anyone can have access to the information almost about anything. How much people understand certainly depends on their academic backgrounds, aptitude for learning and capacity of the mind. But being a doctor invests them with the patient-centric attitudes, not aloof from their patients.