|[back] Attention to detail Anthony Thanasayan (The Star) - 7 April 2011|
Thursday April 7, 2011
Attention to detail
ONE of the important aspects of living with a disability is to have regular medical check-ups. Recently Wheel Power spoke to consultant neurologist Dr Lim Shen-Yang on the subject at Universiti Malaya Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
"Patients do not take the trouble to bring the medication in for verification or provide the doctor with a written list of their medicines."
Dr Lim said precious time was wasted in trying to figure out what constitutes basic information needed for proper medical consultation.
Having a neatly written or typed list of medicines that is accurate and up-to-date can go a long way in conveying that you are interested in your health.
This, according to Dr Lim, will help to minimise the chance of being prescribed a medicine that interacts negatively with a prescription that a patient is taking.
In such situations, he suggests the following:
Often, it helps to have a family member or friend present during the consultation to listen in and jot down the important points or ask relevant questions. Providing a collateral history is useful to doctors. (For example, an accurate diagnosis of epilepsy relies heavily on a description of the events surrounding the seizures, which cannot be provided by the patient himself, as he was unconscious at that time.)
If your problem is an unusual one, consider seeking a second (or even a third) opinion. There have been cases where a wrong diagnosis was made, or incorrect treatment given. A good doctor will not be offended if his/her patient asks to consult another doctor for another opinion – as long as the colleague is one with the appropriate expertise. This, however, needs to be balanced against the other extreme of "doctor-shopping"; these are patients who flit from one doctor to the next, and continuity of care inevitably suffers.
In this context, it is worth noting that there is great variability in individual responses to treatments. Thus failure of a trial of one or two medicines should not immediately indicate that the doctor is incompetent. If you trust your doctor, and provided that time is on your side, it is often best to adopt a disciplined approach and persist with the treatment recommendations, rather than bail out prematurely.
To sum up the above in one sentence: "Be interested in, and take responsibility for, your own healthcare".