When symptoms persist, kill your doctor?

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

UNLIKE lawyers, for whom there’s the readily available but often misused Shakespeare quote “Let’s kill all the lawyers,” there’s none about doctors and killing.

What I heard from a doctor friend wasn’t remotely related to mayhem: “Doctors are great--as long as you don’t need them.”

Doctors save lives although British doctor Harold Shipman killed 250 patients before he was caught. He was convicted of 15 murder counts in 2000.


An aberration. Most doctors serve as advocate for patients’ rights: right to continuity of health care, “courtesy, respect, dignity, responsiveness and timely attention.”

Patients, not being a corps of professionals, aren’t bound by code of conduct, except that each must trust his doctor or replace him. When the doc says, stick out the tongue, roll eyes, inhale/exhale, or jump, the patient complies. He doesn’t come shooting, even over stiff billing.

Wheelchair-bound, Wilfred Sabinsolin, 71, must have been a compliant patient too before something inside him snapped. Last July 24, he went to the hospital clinic of Cris Cecil Chan Abu, 56, in Cebu City, to tell his orthopedic doctor that after four operations he still couldn’t walk. Sabinsolin pulled out a .380 pistol from a bag and shot his doctor, then shot himself. Both died.


Sabinsolin forgot that few doctors guarantee healing: doctors, they say, are optimistic about treatment but pessimistic about outcome. Bedside manner is supposed to blur the distinction and yet still make the patient feel good.

Why didn’t he just sue? He would’ve made at least two under-worked lawyers happy.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 28, 2014.


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