A number of physicians contend that there is increasing disenchantment with the medical profession. Koos reported that the majority of families he questioned were dissatisfied with their doctor-patient relationship. Jensen described a deterioration in physician-patient rapport and attributed this phenomenon to “medical school dehumanization” and increased consumerism.
Problems do exist, and as clinicians, we have the responsibility to ask thought-provoking questions about traditional physician-patient relationships. However, it is hardly constructive to offer superficial answers to candid questions. Consider, for example, some rhetorical bombast provided by Preston under the guise of “solutions.” He writes, “Insist on being an equal partner in all decisions, using the doctor’s knowledge and skills but not giving him control over you. Remember always that the best intentioned doctor can have financial and professional interests that are in conflict with your own, and if you and your physician do not minimize these conflicts, you will be die worse for it. You want your medical care to be patient-centered, not doctor-centered.”
Elsewhere he stresses, Call your doctor ‘Mr.’, ‘Ms.’ Why do you call the physician ‘Dr.’ when you call everyone else ‘Mr.’ or ‘Mrs.?’ Why do you accord this special status? If doctors are not superhuman, wouldn’t it be better to address them as you do other respected members of society?