A Doctor's Rant 8 : Its okay to say I don’t know

in Rant, Complain, Talklast year


Hello everyone,

From my little experience in General practice, it is safe to know your limits and to declare where it stops for you to provide the best care to your patients. This does not reduce what you know, neither does it encourage not adding to knowledge but for the sake of putting other specialities to work and getting the better exposure and for you also to learn from specialist. It is called a two way referral system for this reason.

A few years back I took an oath pledging to not be too proud or so to say to refer cases beyond my knowledge and specialization to those who can better cater for them, rather than perform a guess work on patient's health.

The two way referral system has mostly been ignored. It ensures that doctors refer patients to specific specialists, not when they ve tried their guess, but as soon as the discover the diagnosis and its possible complications.

This is a system of ensuring that the best tackles the problems they are trained for and to prevent loss of lives and so give them the best they deserve because most specialist have better facilities tailored ti their specialization

Health care systems have levels for a reason and this is to first see that a Doctor is avaiable for every one from primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.

But I guess even th doctors want to also make a living out of the people and would rather do what they are not trained for. Just for filthy lucre. The patient comes down with complication years later and they ve paid for your services.

This is not a spite on my profession but a reminder that it is okay to say "I don’t know" in this profession, and I think, the Doctor and the Patient and public need this information as well.

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Doctors do not know everything, however much lies in the power to also refer you to the person who knows better than them. They may not be forgiven not to know it at all, but partial knowledge is not enough to save a life. That is why there are specializations.

But some patient wont wanna go to the tertiary institutions when referred there, usualy until the matter worsens and there is litte or less to do.

I must give kudos to a lot of private hospitals coming up, its only sad their pay is not as equivalent to the work and the energy put in by Drs, but the fact that we now see specialist hospitals around gives the patients an alternative to not go to the govt owned ones for fear of being over charged for something they pay taxes for.

To assume that you can manage everything is practically greed, be guided and always improve your skills and knowledge to improve practice.

And to the patients and patient relatives. See a Doctor both as a means to an end and an end in itself. There are still a lot of good Doctors out there that I know, who do well to get the best care for their patients and even continue follow up after referral

Thanks for reading my Rant.

My Previous Rants are Here




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Good point my friend. Its ok to say we dont have all the answers. Best to be open to learning at all times.


Very beautiful addition there.

Thanks so much.


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