Patient dilemma: Following the doctor’s orders as opposed to a relative’s or friend’s opinion

Sometimes it seems like patients have already made up their minds before they arrive at my clinic. To my surprise they are told by friends and relatives to not follow Doctors’ orders!

My biggest rivals seem to be friends and family of my patients and not other doctors in the city. This I have concluded after about two years of my practice in Hyderabad.

Here is a typical scenario:
Doctor: “Mrs K you have very severe arthritis in your knee. You’ve tried many tablets and treatments from local quacks as well as doctors and none of them work for you. You are now in a wheelchair because you cannot walk more than a few steps. I think you will benefit from a knee replacement”
Mrs K: “Oh doctor, I don’t want surgery. They say that knee replacement is a failure. They say that my knee will not bend after surgery. They also say that I won’t be able to walk after surgery. Please give me some very good tablets”
Doctor: Mrs K, are these people who are guiding you orthopaedic surgeons?
Mrs K: No doctor, these are just some members of my family?
Doctor: So Mrs K, why have you come to me? I am an orthopaedic surgeon. I am giving you a long term solution for your pain and you are educating me that I should not offer that solution. Then what do you want from me?
Mrs K: Just some very good tablets doctor!
Doctor: Ok, I’ll give you some tablets.
Mrs K: I don’t want painkillers doctor.
Doctor: Why?
Mrs K: Because they cause kidney failure and holes in the stomach!
Doctor: Ok, I can give you an injection that will lubricate your knee and may reduce the pain for a year.
Mrs K: No doctor, they say that injections are very bad for your knee. I don’t want an injection.
Doctor: Who are these people telling you these stories??
Mrs K: They are just some people who live in our area doctor.
Doctor: Please tell these people to treat you as I seem to be completely unqualified to manage your condition.

This is just an example of how citizens in this city refuse appropriate treatments from highly qualified doctors. How do we change this behaviour in our people?

On behalf of the medical fraternity, I request patients to take a discerning view, to not delay treatment and help the doctors do their job to the best of their ability.

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