- Physicians do not expect the patient to be learned/knowledgeable.
- Patients do expect the physician to be learned/knowledgeable.
And thus the conflict sometimes begins. I tried to come up with a useful analogy the other day when discussing this. I thought about choosing someone to work on my automobile and how I can, as a female especially, get "taken for a ride" sometimes if I don't know enough to choose wisely. For example, I was told I needed a new air filter at the tune of $37 when I had my car checked and oil changed. Thankfully, I knew they only cost about $7 at the local parts place next door and that all I had to do was open a plastic cover, pop the old one out and pop the new one in.
I thought about when my auto mechanic told me there was nothing wrong with my car, but I knew that when I accelerated above 45 mph there was a definite vibration and the steering wheel actually shook. My auto mechanic was flat-out wrong and when I asked him to take it on the road, he realized he was. And yes, I spent a while convincing him I'm not a stupid female. Ahem...
So, where does that get us in the analogy part? Well, it works to a point. But here is where it breaks down: How can I get Dr. Rob, Dr. Shock, and Dr. Whomever to "ride my automobile and feel it vibrate"? I can't. They cannot try out my heart, feel my 'roid rages, know my pains, etc. They have to ultimately take my word for it.
With my mechanic who says, "My machines say there is nothing wrong. All the tests come back negative", I can say, "Take it for a test drive." Uh, well, I don't think anyone in medicine has quite figured out how to do that yet with the human body.
Thus, I shop for a doctor who will listen. And I shop for one who will treat me like I have a brain. And most of all, I shop for one who keeps up with current research and advances in medicine.
How do I know if my physician keeps up with the current information? Because I keep up with it. It's not hard to figure out if s/he does.
There is a lesson we all can learn through this. I'm learning it, too. Human beings, no matter what walk in life, need to be treated as learners and teachers. We all have something to learn, and we all have something to teach.