Compassion, care, punctuality, and ethics are the hallmarks of a good doctor

Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine, Social Health Community Comments Off

There is a need to bring back family physicians for better health outcomes

New Delhi, 26 June 2019: Research indicates that less than one percent physician communications with patients are expressions of empathy or compassion. It also indicates that healthcare providers who practice compassion and have empathy for patients have less burnout, more resilience and superior well-being. Understanding the socio-economic circumstances of a patient can have better outcomes. The need of the hour is to raise awareness on the importance of a family physician in this regard.

A physician must be aware of the social determinants of health, that is, the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. Family physicians address the social determinants of health.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The doctor-patient relationship is in a fragile state today and is marked by much acrimony. Practicing compassion and empathy go a long way in building a healthy doctor-patient relationship. Compassion is the hallmark of a good doctor. This is the time to bring back the age-old concept of ‘family physician’. Unlike a general practitioner, family physicians looked after all the health needs of a family, even many generations, regardless of their specialization. They not only treat, but also provide preventive health care to the family being aware of their medical history and were the link between the patient and the specialist. They were also an integral part of the family — a friend, philosopher, and guide.”

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Elect President of CMAAO, said, “The MCI Ethics 3.3 Punctuality in Consultation indicates that a physician should observe utmost punctuality in making themselves available for consultations. It is important that doctors investigate the possible causes of any sudden death through post-mortem, X-Rays, CT, and MRI.”

The most common framework for ethical reasoning is called principlism, after the four guiding principles in medical ethics.

Respect for autonomy – Respecting autonomy means ensuring the informed patient’s right to participate in medical decision making. It is considered the centerpiece of modern biomedical ethics.

Beneficence – The principle of beneficence mandates that clinicians act in the best interests of their patients.

Non-maleficence – The principle of non-maleficence is the instruction for doctors to first, do no harm. It includes harm reduction.

Justice – Justice requires that all people be treated well and fairly, and also that health resources be used equitably.