Why blame the patient?

It is easy to place blame on the patient. Quotes from doctors over the last week include:

1) “She is sick because she did not take her medicine correctly”.

2) “The lab test was not done for two days because the mother did not turn in the slip of paper”.

3) “She died because she obtained an illegal abortion”.

I attempted to change their perspective by altering the wording of their comments. The following were my modifications:

1) “She is sick because we did not teach her how to take the medicine correctly”.

2) “The lab test was not done for two days because we did not follow-up on it or help the mother turn in the slip of paper”.

3) “She died because she was desperate to terminate the pregnancy and we, as a community, did not provide her with the support or medical care that she needed.”

Some will disagree with me and say that I am too paternalistic, but I believe that it is the doctor’s obligation to take responsibility for the care of our patients.

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