On 9 January 2009, the cancer site of Cancerstory.com became dormant.
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Art transforms into compassion

Are you ready to "take on" your doctor?

In late February 2008, I met up with a senior management staff of a local hospital. In our meeting, she explored on the possibility on educating patients on being more pro-active and learning how to pose questions to their doctors. Indeed, I was taken aback by her thoughts. I shot the following question at her: "Are your doctors ready for it?"

I went on to share with her some cancer patients' and their caregivers' unpleasant experiences with their doctors. Being subsidized patients, they were just too afraid to "antagonize" their inhospitable doctors when things went wrong.

Therefore the greatest challenge is for those steely-cold doctors to behave more compassionately and cultivate patience to listen and address patients' queries and concerns with a human touch.

In addition, the present KPI-oriented public healthcare system should extend subsidized patients the privilege to have longer consultation sessions with their doctors. In view of the present shortage of healthcare professionals, especially senior oncologists in public hospitals, this will remain as wishful thinking on my part.

Generally patients have trust and confidence in their doctors' skills and competency. After all, they are laymen and rely on the medical experts to manage their illnesses diligently and professionally.

In reality, there are cases of medical negligence that kills lives. Therefore, it is important for pro-active patients and caregivers to understand how doctors think in order to achieve a desirable medical treatment, and amicable patient-doctor relationship.

At the close of our meeting, I was recommended the book - "How Doctors Think" by Jerome Groopman to read. This book is available at the National Library. Owing to my work commitments, I did not read it until May 2008. It is an insightful book even though some doctors gave it an unfavourable book review. In order to gain more insights into how doctors think, I will be reading another book - "How Doctors Think : Clinical Judgment and the Practice of Medicine" by Kathryn Montgomery when I receive it in August 2008.

Updated on 30 July 2009

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