Decalogue for Patients

1. Trust your doctor – their only purpose is to know you, your body, the cause of your ailment, the nature of your illness and to help you fight your disease or prevent its recurrence.
2. Entrust your doctor with what you hold as the most expensive and important – your life and health – welcome them by your bed, or during another visit to the clinic – with a smile and a good word like a relative, whom you owe a lot. Just like you, the doctor is only a human being – sometimes tired, maybe even impatient by objective difficulties in serving you (bureaucracy, absurd regulations, the lack of funds or distant deadlines for necessary diagnostic or therapeutic procedures).
3. Do not be passive; do not expect that the doctor will cure you only by means of medicines and without your participation. Your commitment and faith in recovery work “miracles” – help your body forces to fight the disease.
4. Avoid pessimism and despair. Do not think constantly about the disease, do not continuously analyse each new symptom or a test result and do not read from the doctor’s gestures and words unfavourable meanings. Use the time of the disease to watch TV, read books, recall pleasing events and your achievements.
5. Do not read scientific medical books – you will remember the information that concerns only some – few patients with a given disease. Without a medical degree you may often interpret the information to your disadvantage – it will then persistently torment you.
6. The leaflet about prescribed medication always informs about all the side effects – it is the responsibility of manufacturers to write about all of them, even if they occurred only once per 100 patients taking the drug. If you have concerns about the use of the drug you should discuss it with your doctor.
7. Do not compare yourself with other patients with a similar condition, especially those who suffer longer, are older and sicklier. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, said “the most important – is not a disease, but the sick man.”
8. Take care of your health more than any material possession – it is the most important and also the most delicate issue and largely depends on you.
9. Write or call to your doctor, even months or years after treatment. Tell them about your health – this experience and therapeutic efficacy in your case can help other patients and give physician satisfaction and strength to fight the diseases of others. Being a doctor requires constant effort of self-education, responsibility for decisions related to health and often other people’s lives.
10. Despite your fears and worries – try to keep a smile and be kind to others. It will help you to win over the people – hospital or clinical staff – and they will give you even more in the fight against your enemy disease, not because they feel obliged to, but rather with greater commitment and thanks to the sympathy you have gained. Take advantage of the meeting with your family to share a good word. They are also suffering. Do not complain, do not talk only about yourself and show interest in their affairs. Show mutual support in order to maintain optimism and the strength to survive.

Prof. Aleksander B. Skotnicki, MD, Ph