Decalogue for Patients

  1. Trust your doctor – his sole purpose is to get to know you, your body, the cause of your ailment, and the nature of your illness, and to help you fight your disease and prevent its recurrence.
  2. You have entrusted your doctor with that which you hold most dear, viz. your life and health. Welcome him when he is at your bedside, or when you visit the clinic, with a smile and a kind word, as you would a relative to whom you owe a great debt of gratitude. The doctor is only human – just like you. He occasionally gets tired, and can even lose patience with the hurdles he faces in serving you (bureaucracy, absurd regulations, lack of funds, and having to wait a long time for necessary diagnostic or therapeutic procedures).
  3. Do not be passive. Do not expect the doctor to cure you with nothing but medicines without any input from you. Your commitment and your faith in your recovery can work "miracles" – help your bodily forces fight the disease.
  4. Avoid pessimism and doubt. Do not dwell on the disease. Do not analyze every new symptom and/or test result. Do not read negative meanings into the doctor's every word and gesture. Make use of your confinement to watch TV, read books, and recall pleasant events and past achievements.
  5. Do not read scholarly medical books - you will only remember things that concern a small number of patients with the given disease. Unless you possess medical qualifications, you are more likely than not to interpret this information to your disadvantage – and it will then prey on your mind.
  6. Medication leaflets always contain information about the medication’s side effects. Manufacturers are obliged to describe all of them, even if they only affect one in a hundred people who take the drug. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns about taking any drug.
  7. Do not compare yourself with other patients with a similar condition, especially those who have suffered longer, or who are older and/or more sickly than you. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, said "It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has."
  8. Take better care of your health than any material possession – it is the most important and at the same time the most delicate thing you possess, and it largely depends on you.
  9. Write to your doctor or call him, even months or years after treatment, and tell him about your health. Your experience(s) and the therapeutic efficacy in your case may help other patients and give the physician the satisfaction and the strength to fight diseases in others. Being a doctor requires constant self-education, and taking responsibility for decisions affecting other people's health – and often their lives.
  10. Despite your fears and anxieties, try to keep a smile and be kind to others. This will help win over the people around you. The hospital or clinical staff will give even more of themselves in fighting your enemy - the disease - not because they feel obliged to, but because of their sympathy for you. And they will do so with greater commitment. Use your meetings with your family to share a good word. It is not easy for them either. Do not complain. Do not just talk about yourself. Take an interest in their affairs. Help each other maintain optimism and endurance.