Medical practice: defendants and prisoners.
It is argued in this paper that a doctor cannot serve two masters. The work of the prison medical officer is examined and it is shown that his dual allegiance to the state and to those individuals who are under his care results in activities which largely favour the former. The World Health Organisation prescribes a system of health ethics which indicates, in qualitative terms, the responsibility of each state for health provisions. In contrast, the World Medical Association acts as both promulgator and guardian of a code of medical ethics which determines the responsibilities of the doctor to his patient. In the historical sense medical practitioners have always emphasized the sanctity of the relationship with their patients and the doctor's role as an expert witness is shown to have centered around this bond. The development of medical services in prisons has focused more on the partnership between doctor and institution. Imprisonment in itself could be seen as prejudicial to health as are disciplinary methods which are more obviously detrimental. The involvement of medical practitioners in such procedures is discussed in the light of their role as the prisoner's personal physician. (+info)
Descriptive study of cooperative language in primary care consultations by male and female doctors.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the use of some of the characteristics of male and female language by male and female primary care practitioners during consultations. DESIGN: Doctors' use of the language of dominance and support was explored by using concordancing software. Three areas were examined: mean number of words per consultation; relative frequency of question tags; and use of mitigated directives. The analysis of language associated with cooperative talk examines relevant words or phrases and their immediate context. SUBJECTS: 26 male and 14 female doctors in general practice, in a total of 373 consecutive consultations. SETTING: West Midlands. RESULTS: Doctors spoke significantly more words than patients, but the number of words spoken by male and female doctors did not differ significantly. Question tags were used far more frequently by doctors (P<0.001) than by patients or companions. Frequency of use was similar in male and female doctors, and the speech styles in consultation were similar. CONCLUSIONS: These data show that male and female doctors use a speech style which is not gender specific, contrary to findings elsewhere; doctors consulted in an overtly non-directive, negotiated style, which is realised through suggestions and affective comments. This mode of communication is the core teaching of communication skills courses. These results suggest that men have more to learn to achieve competence as professional communicators. (+info)
Misunderstanding in cancer patients: why shoot the messenger?
AIM: We aimed to document the prevalence of misunderstanding in cancer patients and investigate whether patient denial is related to misunderstanding. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Two hundred forty-four adult cancer outpatients receiving treatment completed a survey assessing levels of understanding and denial. Doctors provided the facts against which patient responses were compared. Multiple logistic regression analyses determined the predictors of misunderstanding. RESULTS: Most patients understood the extent of their disease (71%, 95% CI: 65%-77%) and goal of treatment (60%, 95% CI: 54%-67%). Few correctly estimated the likelihood of treatment achieving cure (18%, 95% CI: 13%-23%), prolongation of life (13%, 95% CI: 8%-17%) and palliation (18%, 95% CI: 10%-27%). Patient denial predicted misunderstanding of the probability that treatment would cure disease when controlling for other patient and disease variables (OR = 2.20, 95% CI: 0.99-4.88, P = 0.05). Patient ratings of the clarity of information received were also predictive of patient understanding. CONCLUSIONS: Patient denial appears to produce misunderstanding, however, doctors' ability to communicate effectively is also implicated. The challenge that oncologists face is how to communicate information in a manner which is both responsive to patients' emotional status and sufficiently informative to allow informed decision-making to take place. (+info)
Women patients' preferences for female or male GPs.
OBJECTIVE: We aimed to investigate general preferences to see a male or female GP either some or all of the time, and specific preferences to see a female primary health care (PHC) worker for individual health issues; to compare these preferences with reported consultation behaviour; and to explore women's evaluations of the quality of PHC services in relation to their preferences and consultation behaviour. METHOD: Results are reported on 881 women aged 16-65 years who had consulted their GP in the previous 6 months. Logistical regression analysis was undertaken to evaluate whether a general preference to see another woman is more important than specific women's health issues in determining why some women regularly choose to consult a female GP. RESULTS: General preference was 2.6 times more important than specific health issues in predicting choice of a female GP in a mixed-sex practice. Nearly a half (49.1 %) of women attending male-only practices stated that they wanted to see a female GP in at least some circumstances, compared with 63.8% of women in mixed-sex practices. In total, 65.5% of the sample stated that there was at least one specific health issue for which they would only want to be seen by a woman PHC worker. The most positive evaluations of the quality of GP services were made by women normally seeing a male GP in mixed-sex practices and the least positive evaluations were given by women in male-only GP practices CONCLUSIONS: In order to meet women's expressed preferences, every GP practice should have at least one female GP available at least some of the time and every GP practice should employ a female PHC worker. (+info)
Influence of physician and patient gender on provision of smoking cessation advice in general practice.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between physician and patient gender and physicians' self-reported likelihood of providing smoking cessation advice to smokers using hypothetical case scenarios in primary care. DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis of a self-administered questionnaire. SUBJECTS: National random sample of Australian general practitioners (GPs). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Self-reported likelihood of advising hypothetical male and female smokers to stop smoking during a consultation for ear-syringing ("opportunistic" approach) or a dedicated preventive health "check up". RESULTS: 855 GPs returned questionnaires (67% response rate). Significantly more respondents indicated they would be "highly likely" to initiate an opportunistic discussion about smoking with a male smoker (47.8% (95% confidence intervals (CI) = 44.5 to 51.2)) than a female smoker (36.3% (95% CI = 33.1 to 39.5]). Older, male GPs were less likely to adopt an opportunistic approach to smoking cessation for patients of either sex. Respondents were more likely to recommend that a male patient return for a specific preventive health check up. Furthermore, in the context of a health check up, a greater proportion in total of respondents indicated they would be "highly likely" to discuss smoking with a man (86.9%, 95% CI = 84.5 to 89.0) than a female smoker (82.5%, 95% CI = 79.8 to 84.9). CONCLUSIONS: As measured by physician self-report, the likelihood of advising smokers to quit during primary care consultations in Australia appears to be influenced by gender bias. Gender-sensitive strategies to support cessation activities are recommended. (+info)
The limited use of digital ink in the private-sector primary care physician's office.
Two of the greatest obstacles to the implementation of the standardized electronic medical record are physician and staff acceptance and the development of a complete standardized medical vocabulary. Physicians have found the familiar desktop computer environment cumbersome in the examination room and the coding and hierarchic structure of existing vocabulary inadequate. The author recommends the use of digital ink, the graphic form of the pen computer, in telephone messaging and as a supplement in the examination room encounter note. A key concept in this paper is that the development of a standard electronic medical record cannot occur without the thorough evaluation of the office environment and physicians' concerns. This approach reveals a role for digital ink in telephone messaging and as a supplement to the encounter note. It is hoped that the utilization of digital ink will foster greater physician participation in the development of the electronic medical record. (+info)
Childbirth customs in Orthodox Jewish traditions.
OBJECTIVE: To describe cultural beliefs of Orthodox Jewish families regarding childbirth in order to help family physicians enhance the quality and sensitivity of their care. QUALITY OF EVIDENCE: These findings were based on a review of the literature searched in MEDLINE (1966 to present), HEALTHSTAR (1975 to present), EMBASE (1988 to present), and Social Science Abstracts (1984 to present). Interviews with several members of the Orthodox Jewish community in Edmonton, Alta, and Vancouver, BC, were conducted to determine the accuracy of the information presented and the relevance of the paper to the current state of health care delivery from the recipients' point of view. MAIN MESSAGE: Customs and practices surrounding childbirth in the Orthodox Jewish tradition differ in several practical respects from expectations and practices within the Canadian health care system. The information presented was deemed relevant and accurate by those interviewed, and the subject matter was considered to be important for improving communication between patients and physicians. Improved communication and recognition of these differences can improve the quality of health care provided to these patients. CONCLUSIONS: Misunderstandings rooted in different cultural views of childbirth and the events surrounding it can adversely affect health care provided to women in the Orthodox Jewish community in Canada. A basic understanding of the cultural foundations of potential misunderstandings will help Canadian physicians provide effective health care to Orthodox Jewish women. (+info)
Childbirth customs in Vietnamese traditions.
OBJECTIVE: To examine and understand how differences in the cultural backgrounds of Canadian physicians and their Vietnamese patients can affect the quality and efficacy of prenatal and postnatal treatment. QUALITY OF EVIDENCE: The information in this paper is based on a review of the literature, supplemented by interviews with members of the Vietnamese community in Edmonton, Alta. The literature was searched with MEDLINE (1966 to present), HEALTHSTAR (1975 to present), EMBASE (1988 to present), and Social Sciences Abstracts (1984 to present). Emphasis was placed on articles and other texts that dealt with Vietnamese customs surrounding childbirth, but information on health and health care customs was also considered. Interviews focused on the accuracy of information obtained from the research and the correlation of those data with personal experiences of Vietnamese community members. MAIN MESSAGE: Information in the texts used to research this paper suggests that traditional Vietnamese beliefs and practices surrounding birth are very different from the biomedical view of the Canadian medical system. The experiences and beliefs of the members of the Vietnamese community support this finding. Such cultural differences could contribute to misunderstandings between physicians and patients and could affect the quality and efficacy of health care provided. CONCLUSIONS: A sensitive and open approach to the patient's belief system and open and frank communication are necessary to ensure effective prenatal and postnatal treatment for recent Vietnamese immigrants and refugees. Education and awareness of cultural differences are necessary for physicians to provide the best and most effective health care possible. (+info)