The Futile Doctor

By December 11, 2009 Uncategorized

In my previous post, I pointed out that the patient decides the course of action.

What????!!!! Say that again.

I can hear you screaming and I can imagine your face in disbelief?

“Is this person in her right mind?” You’re probably wondering.

No, I’m not out of my mind. You understood me correctly.

You are puzzled. I know.

You have all been programmed to follow the doctor’s orders. You have been programmed to take this medicine and not to ask. You have been programmed to just do it and not question. Me too.

This mindset is so pervasive in our culture and permeates most aspects of our lives. We’re afraid of being disrespectful. We’re afraid of appearing offensive. We’re afraid of hurting feelings…..Sometimes to our own detriment.

Yes but the doctor knows better and best. Right?

Uh-uh-uh! For minor aches here and there, we certainly do. Our minds will readily produce a remedy for all the complaints you throw our way. Most of the time, though not always, we have an answer to your question. However, there are a lot of times that we cannot decide for you.


You have been shaped by different experiences. You have your own values. There are things that are important and valuable for you and you alone. There are things which may be significant for you but not for others. There are things that are acceptable to you but not to others. There are goals that you want to achieve which may not be relevant to others. There are things that give you joy but are unimportant to others. What may be important to me may not be aligned with YOU. And therefore, you cannot leave it to me to decide for you.

The Miracle Cure For All

“Will the treatment be ok” or “Is the patient ok or going to be ok?” “Will the patient tolerate the procedure?” Are questions that are very vague and general that patients pose with a dangerous underlying expectation of guarantee and certainty.

Yes, it is my responsibility to make critical decisions and to do everything possible to ensure the patient’s safety. However, despite all the best, life sometimes has a way of steering its own course.

Am I copping out? Definitely not. I always make it a goal to keep patients safe and sound. It is what keeps me alive and going. However, people need to realize that all procedures, medicines and treatments carry RISKS AND BENEFITS. Nothing in medicine, whether mainstream or alternative, Western or Eastern, modern or traditional, is absolutely safe nor can give a blanket guarantee of cure for all types of diseases nor will deliver everything it promises. Even the lowly aspirin and paracetamol have caused patients to be harmed.

The practice of medicine is all about balancing risks and benefits. It is our job to do that. Decision-making in medicine must, at all times, consider ALL NOT ANY of the following:
– Evidence of efficacy of treatment
– Clinical judgement of the doctor

To claim amazing but ridiculous promises to patients is to misinform and to deliberately prey on those who are vulnerable.

So, does it mean that you should only follow what I tell you because I know best? Not at all. I advocate you to learn, to seek out, reflect and then discern what you believe suits you. Whether the treatment I prescribe is right for you can only be answered by you. You are the best person to understand YOU. Should you choose otherwise, I have no misgivings nor judgement. As long as I have accompanied you in owning your journey, then I am not a futile doctor.

Denky Dela Rosa

About Denky Dela Rosa

I am a Doctor of Medicine. My specialty is Internal Medicine (Doctor for adults) with subspecialty in Medical Oncology (Cancer). I am also a Certified Holistic Health Coach graduating from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, New York City

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