Mutual trust needed between patients, doctors

As a patient, it is my duty to read, ask and share information in order to make an informed medical treatment choice ("Doctors have duty to stop patients from making misinformed choices" by Dr Yik Keng Yeong; Nov 9).

True, I may not understand everything I read or hear, but my doctors help me fill in the gaps as I seek clarification.

I have undergone major operations, and the last one required lengthy discussions with my panel of doctors, including an anaesthesiologist.

Before the operation, the doctors asked as many questions as I asked them. Being a patient, I needed to provide them with invaluable medical information to work from. They, in turn, discussed many possible options with me for the best outcome, including worst-case scenarios.

I liken my medical ailment to a management problem. In it, my doctors are consultants and my role as a business partner is a collaborative one to work mutually for myself to gain good health. The end result must be a "profitably rewarding" one.

Last but not least, I learnt that the most critical man in an operating theatre is the anaesthesiologist, as he brings me back to life in the event of any issue and after surgery.

Good, informed choices are made through listening, collaborating, assessing and reassessing on the go.

Be unafraid to ask and be open to listen. But at the end of it, mutual trust is pivotal between patients and doctors.

Juliana Ang Hiok Lian (Ms)