Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Walk-In Clinics Need To Educate Their Patients

In the medical community, there seems to be a stigma that walk-in clinic physicians only care about money and not the well being of their patients. I have primarily heard this generalization from patients who have gone to a walk-in clinic and felt rushed through their examination. I believe that walk-in clinics serve a good purpose because they allow people to see a doctor for non emergent situations that occur when their family doctor's office is closed, like on a weekend.

Recently, a friend of mine went to a walk-in clinic because he was having groin pains. The doctor diagnosed him with an inguinal hernia, which occurs when your peritoneal sac obstructs your inguinal canal. However, my friend called me after the meeting with his doctor to ask "what is a hernia?" and "why do I need surgery for it?".

Sure, my friend should have asked the doctor these questions, but I would argue that the doctor should make sure his patient understands what kind of hernia he has, what a hernia is, and why he requires surgery to fix it. Answering these questions would only take 2 minutes of the doctor's time, so there really isn't any excuse to not explain the diagnosis.

Now maybe the doctor thought that inguinal hernias were common knowledge, but I really hope that isn't the case.

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