Saturday, February 19, 2011

Who is a doctor?

What a question! Of course a doctor is someone who has gone to medical school and treats sick people. They also use all these big words that nobody knows. They are mostly hardened, treating every patient as a case rather than a person...or someone with honorary doctorate or PhD.
Hm, good definition, albeit rather flawed. Let's examine it for a minute. 

According to World Health Organization (WHO), health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being and not merely the absence of disease or illness.
This means a deficiency in any of the above means an unhealthy person.
Simply put now, I'm thinking a doctor should be one whose job is to restore unhealthy people to full health eh?

I'm going to ask again, who is a doctor?
Can it be a physician, surgeon, psychiatrist and all those people that went to medical school?  
Most definitely! They, in this case, me and them, all have a role to play in the four areas of well-being. If you only take care of the first part, then you have not done the best. No wonder some of our patients keep coming back with bizarre complaints. Of course, the more they come back, the more money we get eh? But let's remember, it's about healing not making money (tongue in cheek), so the more needs we meet, the more the satisfaction we gain. 
I would like to meet my patient on the road and hear him say 'Doctor, thanks a lot. I feel okay now' rather than 'Doctor, the drugs worked at first but now I need to come and see you for the same complaints'.

Can a doctor be your partner, your family member, your friend, colleague, your pastor? 
I like to think so! At one point in time or another, these people have contributed towards your well-being in the aforementioned categories. 
Your parents put you through school (mental); your spouse has cooked you a big meal and shown you some love (physical, emotional); your pastor has just spoken some words of comfort to you (spiritual); even a smile from a stranger at times or a compliment.

I guess WHO did not know the implication of their definition of health. They have just made everyone a potential doctor!

So what do I have above all these other people? I know some of those big medical terms!

On a tangential note, how come 'doctored' is a negative word?

I'm going to end with this, your health and that of others around you is your responsibility. Always be willing to play doctor - but know your limits!

- Dr B. Arabambi, MBBS.

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