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“ Doctors ≠ God ” By: Warda Idrees Ch

“ Doctors ≠ God ”

In nothing do men more nearly approach the gods than in giving health to men.  ~Cicero

“Self-confidence is by general consent one of the essentials of the practice of medicine, for it breeds confidence, faith, and hope.” Dr. Lewis Thomassurgeon_2430463b

It is no surprise that self-confidence is an essential quality of a successful physician, for how can a patient believe in someone who does not believe in himself. However, from the patient’s side, blindly putting complete faith in the doctor or having expectations which are unlikely to be met are both features of what we can call “God Syndrome” or perceiving the physician as anything more than human.

The Hippocratic view of medicine involves the idea that nature heals disease, as well as causes it, and the role of the doctor is to help nature in the healing process. The doctor is the not the central hero, but the handmaiden to nature.

However, in recent years with the advances made in the medical field the doctor-patient relationship has changed drastically. Increasing number of patients expect physicians to have the answer for everything, the solution to every problem, and the cure to every illness. Patients’ expectations are higher than ever and so is their disappointment if those aren’t met. Psychoanalysts have a concept for all this: they call it “transference.” The idea is that patients transfer feelings, from somewhere other than the real doctor-patient relationship, to their doctors. The doctor is overvalued, and becomes a god, or demeaned, and viewed as lower than swine. Often, the one precedes the other. Neither is true.front-page-3

Needless to say this belief has a very detrimental effect on both the people and physicians. For people, those who have lost a loved one do sometimes remain firm on their belief that the physician is to blame for their misfortune and thus bear a resentment which can last a lifetime. On the other hand there are cases when failure to save a life and the burden of the blame and resentment of others leads a physician to take his own life.

What society and people need to realize and accept is that physicians are merely well-educated beings who have no power over life and death. Believing otherwise will only lead to disappointment and despair. This is also important for doctors who also have to understand that they may face situations and cases when all their knowledge, all their skills, all their experience will prove ineffective to save a life. The reality of death is not an easy one to accept especially when one dedicates his life to saving others; however that makes it more essential that one comes to terms with it.

At the end of the day there is no room for doctors as Gods. Our purposes are much more humble: to cure sometimes, to heal often, to console always. “ Dr. Nassir Ghaemi

By: Warda Idrees Ch

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