The Truth... What is it?


[you are now reading a page on Dr. Shaw's personal website]

Although there is some truth to the statement that 90% of illnesses go away cured in spite of what patients and families or the doctors do, that still leaves a lot of serious work to be done!

While the above statement suggests that an OK, or adequate, or good-enough doctor is sufficient, we think that the discerning patient is most efficiently served by the truly good doctor...the one who will pick up the exceptional and important diagnosis and will pick up the important deviations from abnormal early in the course of a dangerous disease. While good doctors often have highly efficient, systematized functioning of their offices and referral processes, this may not be the doctor who can "churn" patients through and meet the productivity demands of low-pay insurance and managed care climates of payment coverage. In any case, it is well worth your while to listen and learn and help take care of yourself. Socio-political pressures have forced the health-care system and doctors into making "helter-skelter" medical practice quite common.

It is you feeling of trust that makes you feel as if you have a "good doctor". It takes a determined, tenacious, and intellectually capable person to be a doctor...but what makes a good doctor?

  •  Academic credentials and training: important but doesn't necessarily make a good doctor.
  • high-to-brilliant intellect: important but doesn't  necessarily make a good doctor.
  • high social standing: important but doesn't  necessarily make a good doctor.
  • widespread political connections: important but doesn't necessarily make a good doctor.
  • having a booming practice (therefore the doctor MUST be good): possibly important but doesn't  necessarily make a good doctor.
  • Keeping up and attending medical education and update courses: important but doesn't necessarily make a good doctor.
  • being sincere and caring: important but doesn't  necessarily make a good doctor.

Because the doctor-patient relationship has been interfered with by the constant threat of lawsuits, managed-care and other third-party insurance company rules & restrictions, as well as federal (with the constant threat of huge fines) and state government rules & restrictions (especially the amazingly time-consuming electronic records required required around and by Obamacare), there is only so much time a doctor can give to you in an office or bedside visit. You will be much better off if you will avoid triggering helter-skelter medicine by being willing to schedule another appointment for discussion after you have had the chance to digest and learn a little about any finding which seems to you to be "bad news".

But, a good doctor: has good training, keeps current in what he does, focuses on you when with you, gives professionally adequate time for your case, is reasonably caring, is as thorough as professionally needed, is trustworthy, and is HELPFUL to you. He exhibits common sense, wisdom, and decisiveness, though being willing to admit to it when stumped. And he is willing to direct you to second or other opinions or specialists. In short, whatever the religious or atheistic background, he/she does unto you as he/she would have it done unto himself/herself (the Christian "golden rule"). If he is known in the community for uprightness, trustworthiness and integrity, it is likely that your situation will also be handled with uprightness and integrity.

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[27 July 1998; latest adjustment 5 May 2015]