The always thoughtful Rasu Shrestha, MD, shared this image and tweet on Twitter:
"You are ALREADY your own doctor"
— Rasu Shrestha MD MBA (@RasuShrestha) June 27, 2018
I really appreciate Rasu pointing out how much of our health is influenced outside of the doctor’s office. Also, I love that Rasu is asking for participatory medicine and for patients to demand to be participants in their care. However, I wonder if the quote he shared from Tom Ferguson, MD is a bit too far: “You’re Already Your Own Doctor.” Of course, what’s amazing is that Dr. Ferguson was saying this in 1985. That’s surprising, but I wonder if the statement actually discourages doctors from having patients involved in their care.
I get the idea that many patients have been treated poorly in the past. However, how future patients respond will often determine how doctors will respond to them in the future. It doesn’t take many bad experiences for doctors to not want to have patients involved in their care. So, patients should demand participation in their care, but they should do so with respect.
What’s ironic is that those same patients who want doctors to respect them and respect their input as patients, treat their doctors with disrespect. I understand that many patients get burnt out. However, it’s amazing how care providers turn off when they’re disrespected. If the goal is to create more patient involvement in their care, we have to be careful not to burn bridges for other patients. I think calling the patient a doctor is going to far. Once again, it’s about participation in your care and not the patient becoming the doctor.