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Doctor's decalogue


When a patient enters your office – stand up, shake hands, introduce yourself, act similarly at the patient’s bedside. Show respect to the patient – he or she is often older to you and has different, sometimes richer life or work experiences than you. The fact of illness does not entitle you to treat the patient with prejudice – he only has a diseased liver or marrow, but he has not ceased to be a Human Person, so in addition to compassion (from which medicine was born), show him the sympathy and respect due to any newfound Human Being. Remember that you owe your medical knowledge to your teachers, studies but also to the patients from whom you learn the symptomatology of diseases, reactions to drugs (most of which you have never taken yourself).


Treat the patient kindly, like a guest in the house. Ask him about his job, his professional achievements, his family. Ask what you can help him with, listen patiently, clarify his doubts.


Do not show impatience, haste or nervousness to the patient. Communicate to him your belief in therapeutic success, mobilize him to actively participate in the fight against the disease under your guidance, convince him that you will not leave him alone, give him – figuratively and in reality – a helping hand in guiding him through his health crisis. The patient is supposed to go with you with faith and belief in you, in your competence, in your kindness and selflessness.


Make the patient feel that he or she is most important to you at the moment, that you are interested in him or her, that his or her illness is a challenge for you, a puzzle to be solved.


Show respect for the patient, lean over mines, show understanding of his ailments and concerns. Let your relationship with the patient be a partnership – this will help you gain his trust and cooperation in the treatment process, help convince him of the validity of the medical procedure you are conducting.


Remember that every person at the time of a breakdown in health feels anxiety, uncertainty about tomorrow, expects the worst. He finds himself in new conditions, afraid of diagnostic procedures, and expects your interest, cordiality, as well as calmness, focus and confidence in his decisions. Remember, too, that every decision should be agreed with the patient and convinced of its validity.


Entering the patient room, approaching the patient – leave behind your domestic or professional troubles, your own ailments – they should not impinge on your conduct, the speed and accuracy of your decisions. Your gloomy countenance, bad mood, lack of smile – can be misinterpreted by the patient as a lack of hope and adversely affect the patient’s mood and condition. Be responsible also for the atmosphere in the medical team, kindness and mutual respect is as necessary for the healthy as for the sick.


Remember that “a doctor should like his patients and feel responsible for them.” (Antoni Kępiński) Treat your patients as you would want your loved ones to be treated in illness.


“Do not take away your neighbor’s hope.” (Julian Aleksandrowicz) “Not to bring hope to a person is worse than to blind or kill him.” (Marek Hasko) Bring hope, therefore, and create the chance to fulfill it yourself by improving the conditions of treatment and by seeing a person holistically, in connection with the surrounding environment, profession, personal habits, and interpersonal relations. Take into account his psychosomatic unity and unique individuality.


“Nothing that can affect my patient’s health will be indifferent to me.” (Hipokrates) Don’t expect gratitude from patients – it’s nice if they express it, but remember that bestowing health on the sick is a privilege that no other profession has; in this sense, a doctor is equal to kings and presidents – he can give life to others….