off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid


Patient satisfaction and
Passenger without Ticket


Sometimes patients are too much anxious and when they go to consult a doctor, if the doctor does not listen to them patiently, their anxiety level is increased further. Most often doctors are too busy and particularly so in a buy Out Patients Departments of public hospitals where they have to examine hundreds of patients daily. In the absence of any Filter Clinics whereby only those deserving specialized care would come to these tertiary healthcare facilities, many patients suffering from common diseases which can be very well and easily managed by the GPs, Family Physicians or at Basic Health Units, Rural Health Centers also travel long distances to seek treatment at these tertiary care centers in the cities which have their own problems.

Sometime ago Prof. Abdus Samad, a well-known interventional cardiologist narrated to me the story of one of his patients. He said this patient was a businessman in Karachi and was under his care.  Due to deteriorating law and order situation and security concerns, he shifted to Punjab and also shifted his business there. He had been under my care for many years.  Even after shifting to Punjab, this patient used to come for follow up every six month. Prof. Samad recalled that one day he rang me up at night and he was very anxious, worried, wanted an urgent appointment for consultation. He was asked to come at his convenience, hence he came next day.

When I asked him what was the problem, the Patient, Prof. Samad said remarked that during the last few days quite a few of his very dear friends have died and now I fear it is going to be my turn soon. I am just having sleepless nights and do not know what to do?

Having listened to the patient, Prof. Samad said, I explained to him that “Do you know one of the Englishman has written a Book wherein he says that this world is a Railway Station. Daily many trains come here, some people board the train, while a few disembark smoothly and this journey continues without much of a problem.  However, the problem arises when someone takes on the journey without a Ticket. If the ticket checker comes he will disembark passengers without ticket much before reaching their destination”. I further explained to him that we are all Muslims and it is our belief that we all have to leave this world one day. This day is confirmed but we do not know when it will come. Hence, the patient was advised to stop worrying, continue to take the medications regularly and have proper regular follow up. Thank God Almighty for all that he has given you and also pray for your own as well as others good health and happiness. But if he stopped taking medicines, he might be in real trouble just like those who travel on trains without having a proper Ticket. The patient had a sigh of relief, his anxiety level was reduced and he left quite satisfied.

The real problem is that while we emphasize too much on doctors leaning communication skills, what the healthcare professionals also need to learn and master is “Listening Skills”. Talk to the patient, listen to their complaints and refrain from rushing to write the prescription and a battery of investigations some of which may not be needed at all. Rational prescribing and ordering only needed investigations on merit rather than being dictated by commercial interests needs to be practiced. In today’s materialistic world, where even most of the healthcare professionals have also been infected with materialistic virus, we need to inculcate in them the spirit to uphold professional ethics to ensure ethical medical practice.

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