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Does your doctor have good bedside manners?

In days gone by, the interaction between doctors and patients was very different from the way you know it today. There was an almost condescending attitude in the way doctors treated patients.

Your doctor knew best, and gave you medical orders, no questions asked. You were duty-bound to follow such orders, the alternative was almost untenable.The ongoing realization of such misplaced pomposity has paved the way for better attitudes among doctors.

Getting afflicted with disease does not make you less deserving as a human being. It only means that you are in a temporal situation with unique needs. You must be treated with dignity, respect and autonomy at all times. No one, including your doctor, should think that they can lord anything over you.

It doesn’t matter if you are on a death bed, you still must be handled with utmost diligence. Any other way is inexcusable.

So what are bedside manners as far as doctors are concerned? All has nothing to do with being on a hospital bed, literally. It’s all about the all-round interaction with your doctor. Doctors must possess many qualities that enhance the relationship with their patients. Some qualities are taught in medical school, while others are acquired over time. Think of qualities like compassion, good communication, probity, conscientiousness, and many more.

The more inter-personal qualities your doctor possesses, the better the quality of care they are likely to offer.

Small measures are a mark of good bedside manners. Do you get referred to by your name, or as a case? Or worst as a hospital number? Do you get a warm welcome to the doctor’s office? Somebody needs to say hello to you, offer you a seat, and sometimes even a coffee! What about being phoned, emailed or texted just to check how you are doing?

Do you ever get to be thanked for choosing to get your healthcare with your current doctor? After all, you could have gone next door. All small gestures, but they add up to get you better in the face of unwanted disease.

You could argue that doctors are too busy to care about mundane inter-personal sentiments. They should all be business-minded, more like robotic figures working hard to get you cured. But such an argument doesn’t wash. The business of medicine is no different from any other service-oriented business. It matters how patients are treated. Medical outcomes are better when patients are treated as unique individuals, with differing needs.

You should never be viewed as a medical case that conforms to a certain pre-determined treatment algorithm.

It’s up to you to decide whether you can continue putting up with your doctor’s poor bedside manners. You can help them style up by giving some feedback. But some may never change, in which case you are free to seek better manners elsewhere.

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In days gone by, the interaction between doctors and patients was very different from the way you know it today. There was an almost condescendingattitude in the way doctors treated patients.

Your doctor knew best, and gave you medical orders, no questions asked. You were duty-bound to follow such orders, the alternative was almost untenable.The ongoing realization of such misplaced pomposity has paved the way for better attitudes among doctors.

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