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Patient's Decalogue


Trust your doctor – he has no other purpose than to get to know you and your body and the cause of your ailments and the nature of your disease, and then help you fight it or prevent its recurrence.


When entrusting a doctor with what you hold dearest and most important – your life and health – greet him or her at your bedside or during your next visit to the clinic – with a smile and a kind word, like a loved one to whom you owe a lot. A doctor is also just a human being like you – sometimes tired, maybe even impatient with objective difficulties in serving you (bureaucracy, unlivable regulations, lack of funds or distant deadlines for necessary, diagnostic tests or treatment procedures).


Don’t be passive, don’t count on the medical doctor to cure you of your illness with just medicines without your participation. Your commitment, belief in recovery “works wonders” – it helps your body’s forces to fight the disease.


Protect yourself from pessimism – doubt. Don’t constantly think about the disease, don’t constantly analyze every new symptom, lab result, don’t read unfavorable meanings for yourself from the doctor’s gesture and his words. Use the time of sickness to watch TV, read books, recollect pleasant events and those in which you achieved success.


Do not read scientific medical books – as you will mainly remember from them what often applies only to some – a few patients with a particular condition. Nie czytaj naukowych książek medycznych – bo zapamiętasz z nich głównie to, co często dotyczy tylko niektórych – kilku pacjentów z danym schorzeniem.


In the information about the effects of the drug prescribed to you, you can always read about the side effects – it is the manufacturers’ duty to write about them, even though they often occurred only once in 100 patients taking the drug. If you have doubts about the use of the drug – discuss them with your doctor.


Don’t compare yourself with other patients with a condition similar to yours, especially those who have been ill longer, are older, and are more ailing. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, said “the most important thing – not what kind of disease, but what kind of person suffers from it”.


Take care of your health more than any material possessions – it’s the most important and yet the most delicate thing you have and depends largely on you.


Write or call your doctor, even many months or years after the end of treatment. Provide him with information about your health – maybe this experience and therapeutic effectiveness in the case of your illness will help other patients, and give the doctor satisfaction and added strength to fight other people’s illnesses. Medical activity requires the effort of constant self-education, taking responsibility for the decisions made about the health and often the lives of other people.


Despite your fears and worries – try to maintain a smile and kindness to those around you. This will help you win over the people around you – the hospital or clinic staff – they will give even more of themselves in the fight against your enemy – the disease, not just out of duty, but with more commitment and because of the sympathy for you that you are able to inspire. Use meetings with loved ones to share a good word. It’s hard for them too. Don’t complain, don’t just talk about yourself, show interest in their affairs. Mutually argue in maintaining optimism and survival strength.

Prof. Dr. med. Alexander B. Skotnick