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October 04 , 2009

Even Great Doctors Make Mistakes


Doctors are only human. A patient may think he or she has a great doctor who is incapable of making a mistake. But we all need to be vigilant. Even great doctors make mistakes.

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It is not comforting to know that our doctors are capable of making mistakes. Our livelihoods, even our lives, are at stake. We need to have faith in the medical professionals who are entrusted with our lives. And we can, with vigilance. We can trust our great doctors. It’s just that the faith we place in our doctors shouldn’t be blind.

On the other hand, we need to do something if we lack faith in our medical professionals. If possible, we can switch doctors, to somebody we have faith in. Or perhaps our lack of faith stems from a lack of understanding. Perhaps, in many cases, only communication between patients and doctors needs to be improved.
What do we do when doctors make mistakes? What do we do when doctors, nurses, and even receptionists in medical offices treat us with disrespect?

How do we distinguish a great doctor from a bad doctor?

I am a typical medical patient. I have no more knowledge of medical care than the average patient. But I do have quite a bit of experience at being a patient. Here are the lessons I have learned, and the questions that remain – along with the horror stories behind the lessons and questions.

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