Doctor-Patient Relationship

The relationship between doctor and patient is something that previously had great meaning, or at least it was talked about with more emphasis on that meaning. Nowadays it seems to have lost the prominence and priority it once had. Life went and got itself in a big hurry, and the relationship was minimized in the context of a 10-15 minute block of time (if you’re lucky) where the most important thing was a checklist: 2-3 minutes for catch up, 2-3 minutes for the most pertinent questions, 2-3 minutes for examination, 2-3 minutes to declare the plan, and 2-3 minutes to wrap up and write prescriptions. This happens day in and day out for most physicians and patients, and we say, “that’s life”. It’s the status quo.

In this story, the doctor-patient relationship is a lost soul, and it is desperate to be found. Unfortunately, there isn’t much life in the robotic, information driven, habitual routine that describes much of medical care in the world today. We are floundering about, looking for something more. Is there someone out there who will truly listen to what a patient has to say, even if it takes a little more time? In a relationship where confidence and trust are paramount, can the depth necessary for those elements be reached in less than 15 minutes?

The re-awakening of the doctor as a relator has begun in our world. The entrenched strongholds of the modern medical system will never again allow that kind of doctor to become the norm, but it’s happening in small pockets and special places. Some doctors are rediscovering the joy of treating and teaching their patients with the depth of attention and care that true hospitality offers to a guest. Armed with the fresh perspective of engaging the patient as a total person with dimensions other than flesh, some doctors are reconnecting with the reason that they were called to the medical field in the first place. Pushing pills eventually becomes unsatisfying, tedious, and tiresome. Loving and encouraging people while illuminating and guiding them remains invigorating and rewarding.

So where does this leave us… doctor and patient? We are all in a confusing world of choices, and we often don’t know how to find the relationship again, while being tossed in violent seas of insurance and government regulation, blown to and fro by the winds of the global internet and world economy. We can only press on, searching and detecting those around us who are like minded. When we find that treasured relationship, we hold on. There’s something of a community here… a tribe to which we can belong. When the right connection leads to wisdom, such that we make the right decision and understand why we made it, there is unity, confidence, and hope.

That place of understanding is something we search for every day. We pray that you will seek and find it, too. God willing, we hope to see you there.