Today I was reading an article from heart-wire “Patients Who Won’t Sue Their Doctors — Even When They Could” I found it interesting; I thought I should share my views on this. All of us know, we humans can make mistakes and mistake of doctor can endanger human life, that human may be father son daughter mother of somebody. Losing such close relative may mean a unfulfillable loss to family sometimes.
I had one patient who was very sick and was not improving. Few hours before death (afternoon) of the patient, relatives came to my chamber and asked me. Can we get discharge? I said you may if you wish too. I knew very well patient will not improve even if they took him to any bigger hospital. Initially, patient relatives said they want to take him home because they wanted last few days or hours of his life to be in their home. Later changed their version and said, they wanted to take to some bigger hospital. I said OK ordered for discharge and started writing discharged card meanwhile one more member came inside my chamber and asked if they took to a bigger hospital, what are there any chances of improvement. I said unlikely h. After discussion for few minutes, they all decided to stay in my small hospital.
In the evening that patient expired. Just before death one of the relatives of the patient who was not present in the previous discussion rushed o my chamber and was furious because Oxygen was not flowing. The actual problem was oxygen cylinders were being changed so for few minutes oxygen was not flowing, I tried convincing him but could not.
I called another relative who was there during afternoon discussion to my chamber and told politely I have done what best I could. I could have got rid of not improving patient in afternoon itself but I did not do that instead I said to you all that, there will not be any benefit by taking him to any bigger hospital it will only increase your and patient misery and also becomes burden financially. After discussing with me he went outside and he convinced all others. I overheard them “Doctor has fought till end of patient life, not tried escaping from the facts so it is wrong on our part to complain about him”
From above event, we can understand our patients also have the human heart they do understand limitations of doctors, if some untoward event occurs patient and relatives expect, the doctor should give respect to the patient and patient relatives and convince them, instead of running away or covering the mistake.
Most of the humans, like people who are prompt and who speak the truth and don’t like to get cheated. So speaking the truth and being polite will help us protect from lawsuits more easily than by manipulating the scene.