10 laws for every doctor in Kurdistan

Dearest Loyal Reader,

If you follow me on Twitter or have met me in the past week, you have probably had enough of my rambling about the horrible doctor encounters I have had recently.

Not that any decision maker or doctor is reading this, but just to get things off my chest (and because all the bolabolling I am doing hasn’t helped to release the frustration) here are 10 laws* for every doctor to implement in their private clinics. They are so simple that it is actually embarrassing to even make them laws, but what can I say, sometimes common sense fails to function.

Dear Doctor….

  1. Own a filing cabinet, with records for each patient (I will be asking for far too much if I said have a computerized system in place)
  2. Ask patients questions, lots of questions, perhaps about their symptoms or medical history? Yeah, that would be a good idea. Don’t you think so?
  3. Your clinic must be spotless clean, this means no broken vacuum cleaner thrown in the corner and definitely no dusty 1940’s smashed lamp on top of a doorless fridge. Please wash your hands before examining each patient (and use paper towel on your examination bed), and disposable gloves are always a good idea.
  4. Switch off Silent your phone while seeing patients
  5. Only one patient in your room at any one time. Because there is something called…. patient privacy?!! On that note please Google Medical Ethics (I am so sorry you didn’t study that at school, but for your kind information: Sometimes people don’t like speaking to you while four others are listening–and watching– especially if you are a gynecologist)
  6. Appointments to be given with exact time. For example, your secretary cannot tell all the 50 patients visiting your practice on Wednesday to be there at 4 pm.
  7. You are to give the right diagnosis and prescription. If you don’t then  be prepared for your doctors permit to be confiscated…. forever!!!
  8. Your waiting room must be well equipped with heating and cooling systems, comfortable seating, and a play area for children (remove your 1800s sofa ripped in all its edges and we, the people, believe you can afford to change your stained, broken blinds). On that note, your clinic must be patient friendly– this means no child’s head to be placed on a book while you do the checkup.
  9. It is not allowed for you to own or have shares of a pharmacy or any pharmaceutical company.
  10. thou shalt not prescribe 1 kg bag of medication

*If any of these laws are not followed there will be immediate punishments.

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6 thoughts on “10 laws for every doctor in Kurdistan

  1. Dear Mandalawi

    I am a doctor who works and lives in Kurdistan, and by what I read; it seems like you don’t have much clue about what is happening that has resulted in mistreating people including yourself:
    – The problem lies within the very heart of how kurdistan is ruled, that every one earning a penny is related to one of the major parties to support them and allow them behave bowever they like.
    – The amount of doctors who own a private clinic does not exceed 500 in both cities of Erbil and Slemani, while by addressing more than 4000 doctors at once. That sounds a bit harsh of a judgement, don’t you think?
    – The practice of medicine in private clinics is a team work between the malpracticing doctor and an ignorant patient; ie: more patient education in terms of self awareness will force the bad examples to improve.
    – As you can see bad examples and flaws are not being questioned is merely because political affiliations have taken over the syndicates that has rendered the wolves to watch the lambs.
    – So by addressing every doctor you would be mistreating the good practicing ones that you can find out there in the market.
    – And last but not least it is in all of us that we are in that much of disgust, because the doctor you see misbehaving here cannot behave likewise elsewhere, neither can a written article accuse all doctors elsewhere.
    – I hope life shows you better examples from all the selfless and penniless work that young doctors are doing everyday while striving to make a living for their families and cannot do second jobs like everyone else. You may have a point but that’s not encouraging the decent hardworking doctors.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dearest reader,
      Of course not all doctors, but at the end of the day I am speaking of my own experience as a patient. The catastrophe is that the ‘big’ doctors and some of the most sparkling doctor names…. their clinic is exactly how I described it. If it was allowed I would video it all for you. Having said this a few my own doctor friends have the most amazing clinics, in the most beautiful settings, treating patients very well, but that is only the minority. I wished young medical students, and new graduates would speak up and do something about this….
      But I hope and wish all what I said were wrong, my dearest, if you don’t see it, I certainly do. To be with a gynecologist with THREE other women with one of the biggest gynecologist names in Kurdistan, to take your child to a clinic with FIVE other children and their parents in the doctor’s room and to sit up to four hours in a waiting room.. I have gone through this and worse.
      BUT, I do agree with you young doctors do need a salary increase, as do our teachers, because education and health are two of the most important components of a healthy, happy, growing society.
      Thanks for reading, and I (and I am sure you too) wait for the day to see an amazing health system in our beautiful country.
      Sazan,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Too True. There are pockets of good practice, but unfortunately there is also too much bad practice. And things are improving, but very slowly. I have experienced both ends of the spectrum and still sympathise with anyone who is ill and in need of medical assistance in Kurdistan generally. I like many other people do my utmost to avoid any doctors here as I have been ‘burnt’ too often by the bad practices I have experienced. While no-one particularly chooses to go the doctors there are times when you have no choice, and often as a consequence of the situation here leave it until it may well be too late out of the fear of these bad practices.
    Thank you both for honesty, Lesley

    Like

  3. #1 – “Own a filing cabinet, with records for each patient (I will be asking for far too much if I said have a computerized system in place)”

    A computerized system would take care of that and much more. It is too much to ask, though. People are reluctant to change by nature, more so if they have already made up their mind that they will never learn to use a computer effectively.

    #2 – “Ask patients questions, lots of questions, perhaps about their symptoms or medical history? Yeah, that would be a good idea. Don’t you think so?”

    Depends on the condition. At times, a thorough history is of paramount importance. In mental health care, sometimes a history should involve multiple parties, not just the patient, and may take hours to get a detailed history. Good luck trying to convince not just the doctors, but the patients to go through with something like that.

    A simple skin condition may not event warrant more than a question or two. But you are on point and I have rarely seen doctors asking more than a few routine questions. It’s quite amusing since detailed history taking was the most important aspect of our teaching back in med college.

    What you have to keep in mind is that we rarely get the desired answers from our patients. Just to ascertain the duration of a patient’s complaints, I would often have to ask 3 or 4 questions because apparently “how long have you had this problem” is too difficult a question to answer. I have got answers such as “when I had my second son” or “when we went to Iran”.

    #3 – Agree.

    #4 – “Silent your phone while seeing patients”

    Some doctors get frequent and important calls. For example, if they have patients admitted in the hospital, it’s not uncommon for nurses and junior doctors to call the treating doctor for advice and instructions. Not a big deal in my opinion. Apparently, you haven’t seen patients answering phone calls when they are being questioned or examined.

    #5 -” Only one patient in your room at any one time. Because there is something called…. patient privacy?!! On that note please Google Medical Ethics (I am so sorry you didn’t study that at school, but for your kind information: Sometimes people don’t like speaking to you while four others are listening–and watching– especially if you are a gynecologist)”

    No arguments here. And we have been taught medical ethics at school, by a surgeon who has operated on patients while drunk on more than one occasion. Go figure.

    I can’t speak for private clinics, but trying to see patients one at a time in the hospitals is a surefire way to get multiple complaints and sarcastic comments thrown at you.

    #6 – “Appointments to be given with exact time. For example, your secretary cannot tell all the 50 patients visiting your practice on Wednesday to be there at 4 pm.”

    Haha… Absolutely. It’s not hard at all to give people at least an approximate time to be at a clinic. I don’t think most people would mind waiting for 15 minutes or so, but 4 hours, in a cramped room (full of sick people who may have contagious diseases), without air conditioning, and oftentimes without an available seat, is unacceptable.

    #7 – “You are to give the right diagnosis and prescription. If you don’t then be prepared for your doctors permit to be confiscated…. forever!!!”

    Sounds like something Kim Jong Un would say. He would probably add some clause about a bit of blood being spilled though.

    #8 – “our waiting room must be well equipped with heating and cooling systems, comfortable seating, and a play area for children (remove your 1800s sofa ripped in all its edges and we, the people, believe you can afford to change your stained, broken blinds). On that note, your clinic must be patient friendly– this means no child’s head to be placed on a book while you do the checkup.”

    Child’s head placed on a book? Haha, that’s the first time I have heard of something like that.

    #9 – “It is not allowed for you to own or have shares of a pharmacy or any pharmaceutical company.”

    It seems this kind of practice is not limited to this place only. Doesn’t make it right though.

    #10 – “thou shalt not prescribe 1 kg bag of medication”

    Then be prepared to be called a shitty doctor and never have patients visit you again. Seriously, you have no idea how in love our people are with meds. Interestingly, Kurds from Iran, in my experience, are the opposite and prefer instructions and natural methods to adding drugs to their regular daily diet.

    Like

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