Patients are Patients. Generally they are characterised by a common, yet fundamental factor – The Sick Role. This is the role that every unwell person have to assume. It could be quite ‘tasking’ for a person to willingly submit oneself to the hands of another. It means alot, almost akin the biblical Quote, “Into Your Hands I Commend Myself…”.
It is therefore not to much if a greater portion of consultation time is alloted simply to attending to pertinent questions patients pose at Doctors, and even other healthcare givers. Haste, for whatever reason, should have no place in a consultation room, especially when it has no bearing on the patient-care.
I recall once, just almost before my final professional examinations, an elderly woman of about 70 years beckoned on me to put her through as regards how she was to take her medication. She is a diabetic. I still cannot understand what made her seek my attention because I had just be shredded by our unit team registrar, for not taking a ‘complete’ history from the lady. But she felt she needed more explanation from me… however inadequate I made to look in her presence.
I spent another 5 – 10 minutes explaining to this miniature lady everything I knew about Diabetes Mellitus. I felt all these years she has been diabetic, nobody had taken time to explain what the condition was. She confessed she had simply be swallowing the tablets prescribed for her condition. I was totally devastated.
Nigerian truly deserve more from medical experts, regardless of the obvious fact that the Doctor-Patient ratio is still so bad. However, let every patient that is seen be given some sorts of mini-lecture on his/her condition. The gains to this would manifest in outcome of the care given, as adherence/compliance to medications as well as prompt, periodic follow-up visits to the clinic would increase.
I dare say that if doctors and other healthcare givers begin to see Patients not as just mere patients or cases, but as Clients, then a major hurdle would have been scaled towards an appropriate, well deserved consultation section for every client.