Give patients facts most relevant to them

The practice of medicine and healthcare is not merely a technical exercise.
The practice of medicine and healthcare is not merely a technical exercise.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

It is immaterial whether the entire medical fraternity reacts to the disciplining of their peers who have been negligent in fulfilling their duties - knowingly or unwittingly - as a shaming process or a sober learning experience.

Fair and robust rules must always be in place to ensure that the black sheep - and they do exist in all professions, industries and societies - do not step out of line at someone else's expense.

As I stated in a previous letter (Docs must point out major side effects; Jan 29), no reasonable patient and caregiver would expect the impossible - and Dr Yik Keng Yeong (Impossible to highlight all possible medical outcomes; Jan 30) is right to reiterate that it is impossible to lay out all the potential side effects of any single treatment.

In fact, the doctors who are taking care of my father are aware that I want to know only the most relevant and practical information pertaining to the major repercussions on his condition - in layman's terms as far as possible - from all the proposed options on the table at each step of the treatment programme.

This is to help me digest the key facts quickly, and perhaps even put forth some thoughts to complement their treatment regimen from a different perspective, before a decision is made.

I am thus far satisfied with the doctors' judgment and efforts in exercising due risk management for their proposals.

After all, the practice of medicine and healthcare is not merely a technical exercise.

Medicine is not a perfect and exact science. The elixir of immortality continues to remain as elusive as the beginning of time.

Toh Cheng Seong