SRINAGAR: Doctors in Kashmir concede that the lack of communication skills and proper training in handling of patients are the major causes of growing incidents of patient-doctor conflict. The medicos underscored the need for imparting basic skills of handling patients during their professional training at college and hospital levels.
The issue of doctor-patient conflict came under discussion during a progrrame at Government Medical College under the aegis of the north Indian unit of International Network of the UNESCO chair in Bioethics. This was the maiden training workshop for resident and post-graduate doctors with main focus on the patient-doctor relationship and communication skills.
The medicos cutting across ranks and profiles lamented that they have not been imparted basic training in communication skills. “We have not been taught during our courses the basic skills of handling a patient. We are not given any training in the communication skills. It is here we are lacking the most,” a resident doctor said.
The doctors admitted that they do not educate and inform the patients before they are subjected to surgeries. “In 99 percent of the cases a patient is not informed as to why he is undergoing a particular surgery,” admitted Dr Salim Khan, Head Department at Social and Preventive Medicine at GMC.
He said the doctors do not inform the patients about their diseases and often keep them unaware about the requisite treatment. “They (doctors) dictate terms to the patients and they (patients) follow without any question or argument,” he said.
Khan, who heads the Bioethics chair’s Kashmir unit, advised the doctors to avoid treating their patients as cases, admission or diseases. “Treat them (patients) as individuals. This is the area we have to focus on. Most of the issues arise from this misunderstanding. We don’t try to know our patient,” Khan said.
“A doctor doesn’t even ask the name of patient. Rarely would it happen that a doctor asks for patient’s introduction,” he said.
He said that in some cases, a doctor listens to one patient, diagnoses the other and then prescribes medicine for a third person.
“We also don’t try to know the social background of the patients. A doctor prescribes the medicine to patients without even knowing whether he or she can afford it.”
The SPM lecturers Dr Inamul Haq and Dr Maria also advised the participants to mend their ways of approaching the patients.