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The Decline In The Patient Physician Relationship

1993 words - 8 pages

The Decline in the Patient - Physician Relationship

Over the span of half a century, the medical profession has witnessed a catastrophic shift in the patient-physician relationship. As the manufacturing of new pharmaceuticals and the number of patients under a physician’s care continue to rise, doctor’s are finding it difficult to employ the time-honored principles listed within the Hippocratic Oath. This oath, written in 430 BC by the Greek Physician, Hippocrates, was the first document to state the responsibilities of a physician to his patient (vadscorner, pg 2). Hippocrates believed that it was the physician’s duty, as a healer, to treat the patient infected with the disease to the best of his ability, and not to treat the disease (Hippocrates, pg 1 ). He believed that the patient was, above all, the most important aspect involved in the healing process. With the rise in the number of patients under a physician’s care and the stringent rules by which each doctor must abide, many doctor’s are finding that they are unable to devote ample time to become acquainted with their patients (spiralnotebook, pg 1). Furthermore, as newly acquired information regarding illnesses becomes available on the internet, patients are seeking the advice of multiple physicians (Changing, pg 3). These differences between patients and their physicians, as well as numerous others, have caused rifts in the patient-doctor relationship.

Half a century ago, a doctor’s patients relied solely on their doctor for information and advice regarding how to treat a specific disease. This was due primarily to the fact that a doctor’s patients didn’t see their doctor on a regular basis. Today, however, people see their doctors on a more frequent basis. As the methods by which medical equipment and pharmaceuticals were produced evolved and the way of living changed, patients have began to become drug dependent (spiralnotebook, pg. 1). People have begun to rely on prescription drugs, more today than ever before. This is one of the immediate reasons for the breakdown in the patient-doctor relationship – the evolution and rise in the development of pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs (Changing, pg 3). For instance, the Baby Boomers are recognized nationally for taking the most prescription drugs. According to my mother, patients rely primarily on prescription drugs rather than other forms of treatment because of the fast paced economy and because society as a whole has adopted a “lack of caring” attitude. “As people age, all they want are pills.”-Mother

Another reason why physicians are finding it difficult employ the time-honored principles listed within the Hippocratic Oath is due to the increase in the number of patients listed under their care and the short amount of time with which they are able to see their patients (Hippocrates, pg. 1). Physicians, who work at clinics, on average, find themselves in charge of several patients. The number of patients that a...

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