Saturday, August 16, 2008

Modern Medicine

Phew. What a week. I had thought that now, being a consultant, life would be cushy. I have to say though, I have been pulling 12-hour days all week. And 2 weeks from now, I will be oncall for the first time. And I have to admit, it's getting me pretty anxious. No, it's not the medicine that worries me. It's learning my way around 4 hospitals, and learning 2 different hospital systems. Yes, we cover 4 hospitals for call, that belong to 2 distinctly different medical systems. Each with their own paperwork, ordering system. And the hospitals are built like mazes. I'm going to need a GPS.Anyways, work has been interesting this week. It's gotten me thinking. I saw several patients this week. And perhaps to give a lousy excuse for my fumbling with the ordering system on the computer, I tell them: Please bear with me; I'm new to this clinic.
I've had more than a few patients smile knowingly, and say,
"Yes, I know. I read up about you on Google, and know where you're coming from..."
I've already done 4 thyroid biopsies this week, and all 4 patients have told me they're 'letting the new guy do it' only because of where I trained.
It's interesting how many patients here (compared to Malaysia, say) look up their doctors online before their appointments.
Now, I'm all for that. I love for a patient to be informed, to know her doctor's background and credentials. But I have to say, being on the other side of the fence, instead of the 'looking-upper' and being the 'looking-uppee' (mark my words, these phrases will be in the Webster's dictionary in a few years!) I find it terribly unnerving. I mean, to have someone Google you up, and find your stories, articles, medical or not medical, almost feels like you're being violated.
I've had a couple of patients ask me about stuff I've published. One complimenting me on that non-fictional story I submitted to an essay-writing contest years ago. And one ask me about New Orleans.
It does kinda feel weird. But I suppose it's a necessary evil; it keeps the patients informed, and feeling empowered.
I'm just glad I use a nickname for the blog.


Anonymous ront said...

i am not sure many people here over in europe do their research before going to their appointment. think the mentality is that one would expect the best anyway. unless, i guess its for a something really serious and one is looking for a 2nd opinion.

12:47 AM  
Blogger shinyin_jocelyn said...

i guess the biggest nightmare one can have, is your patients (or lecturers, in my case) reading one's personal blog...

will consider using a nickname

9:02 PM  
Blogger CHARIS said...

Oh yeah, google is the way to go, doc ;) I google all my new lecturers, especially before I decide whether or not to take their course. Which is why I'm aware that I may have to shut down my blog one day.

1:08 AM  
Anonymous youngblood said...

Charis: Problem about shutting down the blog doesn't necessarily mean the stuff disappears. It does stay on for quite a bit online due to caching, and what-nots. I'm sure while Googling around, you'd probably notice that there are some searches to pages which no longer are available but still came up with parts of its contents (and you can click to see the cached copy). ;) Just something to note.

2:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doc, I'm a Malaysian and I too have the habit of looking up the medical qualifications of the GPs/specialists that I intend to consult.
However, info here in this part of the world are scarce, very scarce!
What I find disturbing is that even government medical websites don't give the qualifications of the docs or where they obtained them.
I wonder if the Malaysian Medical Council even checks the qualifications of the docs registered with them!!!

9:00 PM  

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