Old - fashioned doctors !! The road to be taken by modern day physicians

Herbert L. Fred   |  

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Photo Credit: For representational purpose only

 

In the 40 years that I have been a full time medical educator, much has changed and rechanged regarding what we teach and how we teach our house officers. As a consequence, I now confine myself to teaching basic medical principles - principles that should never change. But even so, today's trainees tell me what I say and do is old fashioned - I wonder.

  1. It is because old fashioned doctors spend whatever time it takes to obtain a good medical history and physical examination.
  2.  Is it because old-fashioned doctors routinely seek all of the patient's previous medical records, and not just the discharge summaries?
  3. Is it because old-fashioned doctors do not order sophisticated, expensive studies when simpler and cheaper procedures can supply the needed information?
  4.  Is it because old-fashioned doctors order to substantiate, not generate, their clinical impressions?
  5. Is it because old-fashioned doctors use their brain and their heart, not an army of consultants, to manage their patients?
  6.  Is it because old-fashioned doctors view consultants as opinion givers, and not decision makers?
  7. Is it because old-fashioned doctors treat patients, not numbers?
  8. Is it because old-fashioned doctors do not blindly administer a ton of drugs in an attempt to alleviate every possible ill?
  9. Is it because old-fashioned doctors recognise that, doing nothing is, at times, doing a lot?
  10. Is it because old-fashioned doctors understand that patients often get well despite what we do, not as a result of what we do?
  11. Is it because old-fashioned doctors realize that good rapport with their patients is the best protection against lawsuits?
  12. Is it because old-fashioned doctors are aware of their own fallibility, and are never afraid to say, "I don't know"?

If so, then I am proud to be old-fashioned. And I believe that if more doctors today practice medicine the old-fashioned way, our professional might regain some of the nobility and respect it enjoyed.

- Herbert L. Fred. M.D. 

Herbert L. Fred. is professor, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.



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