Living with Medicine and Physicians

"Nature heals and the doctor takes the fee."
Benjamin Franklin

The fact is that medicine and doctors are prominent and, on occasion, necessary in modern life. To deny their place in the workings of Western society is to deny the fact of illness and injury. We all are prone to trauma, disease and death. Therefore, the medical profession has a function in our lives and times, albeit one that is overrated and overused. So, when and how should a thoughtful person call upon a physician and medical attention?

Here are some simple suggestions to consider:
1) When you are ill or injured, try to look calmly at the situation. Can time and home care handle the problem? Is it likely that medicine will have any reasonable aid to offer?
2) Whether or not you seek medical attention, ask yourself whether there is something to be learned from your dis-ease and discomfort.
3) Seek the aid not the authority of physicians. Let them help you make the best decisions for your situation. It's your body, isn't it? 4) Ask questions freely so that you can understand what is going on in your body and being, what tests and procedures are prescribed, what outcomes are expected.
5) Ask, "What is the purpose of this examination? Will it change the intended therapy or just add to costs and potential ill effects?"
6) Ask, "Would you follow this plan for yourself or prescribe it for your family? Or, is there a better way?"
7) Ask, "What can I do for myself as an alternative or supplement to medical intervention?"

Remember, physicians are human and medicine is manmade. Physicians are heir to the same diseases and problems as the rest of society. Though they may try their hardest, they make no guarantees and they don't live any longer and are not any healthier.

A story is told that the Dean of the Harvard Medical School used to greet the new freshman class at their first day of studies telling them, "We have much to teach you here. Fifty percent of it will be proven wrong within the next generation. Unfortunately, we don't which 50 % that is."

Treat your physician like a human being. Expect the same in return.

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