The patient's dilemma

Stabroek News
July 20, 2001

Dear Editor,

George Bernard Shaw once wrote a play called 'The doctor's dilemma'. We are now confronted with what may be termed the patients' dilemma. Whom to consult? And at what cost? The good old family physician is no longer visible, now every doctor is a specialist. The old time doctors were perspicacious professionals with an ability to diagnose common disease. Most had a human approach, some treated the poor free of cost. Then, it was a mission.

Doctors were then respected. Contrast them with the doctors who get manhandled by dead patients' relatives. Many poor and not so poor people live in fear of losing their sight. So-called "Specialists" who can cure any ills rob people with impunity-demanding US$ of course, they have cronies and families high up the ladder. Why would such super specialists come to work in a poor country, robbing many people who are ashamed to speak out.

The urgency to attend a dying patient and sincerely try to save him/her no longer exists in some doctors. The Hippocratic oath has now become the hypocrite's oath. It is indeed a patient's dilemma whether calling a doctor is worth the exorbitant fees charged by him and neither he will do any good to the patient. But is there a choice?

Yours faithfully

Vijay Singh