Meaningful communications

Letters to the editor

Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2001

My personal experiences with the medical profession over these many years and most recently, suggest it is time for my letter, perhaps even somewhat overdue.

I respectfully direct my letter to all of Juneau's wonderfully caring physicians:

Everyone fortunate enough to have a major medical plan - and that is, very unfortunately, not everyone - already knows how terribly busy and over-worked doctors can be. We patients can experience this from the moment of making an appointment to actually conferring with, to the various tests and on to the doctor's final conclusions concerning our welfare.

A doctor's "terribly busy" factor regularly deals with the mundane, as well as, heavily-stressful life and death issues.

While respectful of this fact, I should also like to remind doctors that the patient's personal interest in working with them to understand very complex medical terms and procedures has very much improved. This is especially true since the advent of the immediate, patient-convenient, access to the Internet has become so widely available to all. We are now literally only cyberspace-nanoseconds from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and we are linked to the 2,833, fine-print, pages of the definitive Merck Manual.

While this enormous resource-fact will never, intentionally, naively or otherwise, replace a decade or more of the hard and continuous training, that is required to become a doctor, it should help to make the doctor-patient's relationship a much more compatible and pleasurable experience for both.

An excellent, conscientious doctor will certainly wish to explain medical conditions, in the most careful of details, to their patients, with the ultimate hope of establishing truly meaningful communications in their particularly exacting and always challenging professional field.

Alan R. Munro

Juneau



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