Doctors Think Differently about Health
Doctors think differently about health than you do. Take a common side effect of surgery: nausea and vomiting. Most surgical patients hate throwing up with a passion, but for many years doctors more or less overlooked this because nobody died of it. It took the pioneering work of some physicians like Dr. Patricia Kapur to get physicians to take this problem seriously. Your doctor thinks in terms of life-and-death, not your momentary comfort. Here’s what to do: Speak up. Voice your concerns. If you’re in the hospital, tell the nurse, the doctor, and anyone else and enlist your family and friends as your advocates. If you are taking drugs or treatments with side effects, tell your doctor. You can also tell the Food and Drug Administration (they monitor that kind of thing). If your doctor is oblivious to your comfort, find another doctor or get insistent. A recent paper in the medical literature said that pain relief for patients in hospital ought to be a “fundamental human right” rather than a nicety.