EBSALUTA’S MAR [15-06]:Eye Care Consult from a Colleague

Medical Anecdotal Report
Indexing Title: EBSALUTA’S MAR [15-06]
MAR Title: Eye Care Consult from a Colleague
Date of Medical Observation: July 2015
Tag: The doctor as a patient
Category: Professional/ Ethical-Reinforcement
I was doing an elective herniotomy (An operation for hernia wherein a high ligation of the hernial sac is done) with our consultant when he remarked after the procedure that I should have my eyesight checked by an ophthalmologist because it might cause me a problem at work in the future. For a long time this year, I have always wanted to have my eyesight rechecked since the eyeglasses I have bought last year was no longer a fit to me. The rim keep falling off whenever I use it during operations and when I use it for a long time I often feel a heaviness at the back of my eyes. But due to our schedule I was not able to seek consult to our family eye clinic back in our hometown. I also do not want to be a nuisance to my fellow resident that is why I have not tried to seek consult with the Ophthalmology Department in our hospital.
However, it has been such a burden that one time during flag ceremony as a kind of small talk I complained it to the ophthalmology resident who was standing beside our line. Fortunately, the ophthalmology resident was generous enough to offer me a free consult with cheap eyeglasses later in the afternoon. He also patiently let me try the two boxes of eyeglasses frames during the consult. And after three days I was able to receive a much cheaper but sturdier version of eyeglasses.
Category: (Physical, Professional/ Ethical, Psychosocial) (Discovery, Stimulus, Reinforcement)
According to the Declaration of Geneva, we – doctors – should treat our colleagues as our own brothers and sisters. But dealing with our colleague-doctors as patients is not always that easy. For me in this interaction, I was able to experience the patient side – meaning I was the one, who is in need of a professional consult. Although I have known some of the residents in the other departments for quite some time now, I felt that my problem at that time was personal and already outside of the field that I normally interact with the other residents. I do not want to make them feel that I was an entitled prick asking for them to cater to my needs. Fortunately, the ophthalmology resident, who is a former batchmate in med school, is still as accommodating and friendly as I remembered him to be. I was thankful to him for waiting for me to arrive for the consult and also for humoring me by answering all my simple questions on eye care.
This interaction also reminded me the importance of maintaining good rapport not only with our patients but also with our colleagues. You may have some conflict in managing patients but in the end you must keep in mind to uphold a more harmonious relationship with other residents for the benefit of the patient and for yourself. You will never know when you will be personally needing their area of expertise.
Finally as a public service announcement, we should try these simple tricks for us doctors to become better patients (Anderson, W. 1999. British Medical Journal).
1.     Do not do “Corridor Consults”. You would get better assessment if you would consult with your doctor if he/she is not in the hurry to see another patient or to go to the operating room. Make an appointment and sit down in an appropriate setting.
2.     Meticulously follow the treatment protocols set for our non-doctor patients. When you already become a patient, you also have the same chances to get a complication. Avoid doing shortcuts.
ROJoson’s Notes (16jan20):
A physician is a human being who can be a patient too.  When needing medical care, he chooses a physician who he thinks has the competency to manage him well and with whom he will comfortable with, in terms of interaction and in terms of the medical management process.
A physician may one day be treating medical colleagues.  When he does, he should treat them with the same professional expertise and care he gives to other patients who are not physicians.  He should make them feel comfortable too, in terms of interaction and in terms of the medical management process.
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