Healthy Healing: The Doctor

Six rules every doctor should follow.

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Comments (12)

(12) Ionah Estevez - Breton, September 24, 2014 9:47 PM

Another tip : smile !!!!

Hi dear Rab. I am a family physician and I think there is a 7th rule that can make us better physicians : SMILING to our patients (and making them smile) !. This can relax the atmosphere and helps patients feel better. It always works and it also makes the physician feel better. Thanks and Shaná Tová !!!!

(11) Anonymous, August 29, 2008 12:39 PM

Deborah- on taking advice

Deborah, I found your comment sad. For you. Do you really find it so difficult to take advice? As a successful professional myself, my advice to you is to reflect deeply on your own attitude. Your arrogance regarding the Rabbi's sincere recommendations in the interpersonal arena does not bode well for your future practice. Not even a physician yet, and already so puffed up? I think you'd better listen more carefully in class.

(10) aliza, August 28, 2008 7:14 AM

not condescending

To Deborah and all the doctors-to-be. Mazal tov! However, as a student, of course you are hearing this all the time already. But once you're out there, in "the field" rules like these tend to slip into the background. As a patient who has dealt with many many doctors (due to health plan changes, not my own doing), some follow these 6 rules, some act is if they have never heard them. Please try to view advice like this as helpful, something to be kept as a constant reminder that you're primary purpose is to help people. If you're already finding advice from laypeople (and R' Salomon doesn't qualify as a layperson in my view, since he is a psychotherapist) condescending, then what's going to happen when you're actually practising and get "advice" from patients? Practical reminders on how to be a good doctor to your patients should always be appreciated, never shrugged off. Much success in your future medical career!

(9) chavi, August 27, 2008 6:30 PM

who's missing the mark?

Deborah, I think you are the one who is missing the mark. If you are a physician-to-be, it's time to wake up to reality and smell the coffee. It's wonderful that doctors are taught all of these commandments repeatedly in medical school. They are excellent commandments. But are they being followed by doctors in practice? Just read my previous comment that details my experience just a few short months ago with a recognized top doctor in his field. You think it's a chutzpa for a Rabbi to preach to doctors. Does the patient who suffered from the abuse of these commandments have the right to speak out and protest? or do you consider that a chutzpah, too? Too many doctors do not follow the commandments they were taught in school and too many patients are suffering as a result. EVERYONE, not just Rabbis, have every right to call doctors on the carpet when they do not adhere to the commandments they were taught in medical school. Hopefully, you will not be one of them. By the way, the Rabbi did not give doctors any medical advice. His advice touched only on the area of how one human being should treat another human being, which is definitely within the realm of a good rabbi. So your comparison makes no logical sense.

(8) Laurel, August 27, 2008 6:03 AM

Good advice

I really liked your advice. Just wish I could anomously email this message to some of my doctors. Some of them really need to hear your suggestions.

(7) linda llewellyn, August 27, 2008 3:42 AM

7th Rule

Give the patient time, don't look at your watch or do the computer at the same time!!!

(6) Deborah, August 26, 2008 9:41 PM

missed the mark

As a physician-to-be, I found this article condescending. All I can say is I hope it was cathartic for the author. Doctors are taught all of these commandments repeatedly in medical school: They are excellent commandments. But this article is akin to an article authored by a physician who has the chutzpah to tell learned rabbis how they should practice halakhah.

(5) NesanelS, August 26, 2008 9:05 PM

Healthy Thoughts BS"D!

My father, may he be well, told me that a Talmudic student once came to a new teacher. In the beginning of the semester, the rabbi was speaking about HEALTH - no less! He asked his fellow students, 'I came to learn the words of the rabbis, why is our teacher speaking about health? They answered him, 'if your rabbi speaks about health it is because he cares about you!!!!!!!!! I once heard from a Rabbi Binyomin Z. Halpern in Lakewood, NJ, that the Brisker rav (around early 1900's) would say that health is the thing that the Evil Inclination fights against the hardest! Why? Because, ‘if he fights against one commandment, he has challenged that. However, if fights against health, HE IS CHALLENGING AGAINST ALL THE COMMANDMENETS!!!!!!!!!! About the point that patients often feel deeper things than what may be obvious. There is a flabbergasting story about just such a situation. it is available from Aish audio and it is called We Are Never Alone. Click on Aish MP3 audio on the left and do a search for Kelemen. It is the last result on the page that comes up. (from the description: After Rabbi Kelemen’s healthy son was diagnosed to be deathly ill, he and his wife were thrown into the stark reality of life and death, red flashing lights and wailing sirens. From there followed a roller coaster of incredible highs and frightening lows as they struggled to save their beautiful baby boy. Hear a heart-stopping story that depicts the unmistakable hand of G-d and the intensity of His loving presence that can be very comforting during one's lonely or extra painful moments in life. May all of Israel be well!!! p.s. Another few great sources for Health: -The RMB"M Maimonidies in Chapter four of 'De'os -Kitzur Shulchan Aruch chapter [apx] 33 (both regarding physical and emotional health - like not speaking gossip and jealousy - things which can cause what are called today 'physiological effects -Of course the verse which states 'V'nishmartem Me'od L'nafshosechem - You shall guard very mush for your life (now we can understand why!) p.s. Also regarding cellular and other wireless radiation, which puts a great strain on the person to say the least and has been proven to have the potential to cause the dreaded disease may it only be on or enemies: An interview with one of the greatest professionals in the US: Achieve Radio dot com, click on 'search our site' and type in Carlo. Click the SECOND result link. This will bring you to the page were it is archived. Scroll down ABOUT ONE THIRD until you see a picture of a man with eth title: January 12, 2006 Your Cell Phone is Dangerous A Special 1.5 Hour Interview with Dr. George Carlo, you will hear THE information about cell phones and wireless devices. And may we pray that all of Israel - and those who help them - be cured - especially with the coming of the Righteous Redeemer, who when he comes, all will cured as by Sinai!!!

(4) chavi, August 26, 2008 11:56 AM

two more rules

I think these 6 rules should be sent to every hospital in the United States, and should be displayed prominently next to The Patient's Bill of Rights. As a patient who has seen more than my share of doctors over the past few years, I have a couple of rules to add. Not every patient is accompanied be a family member or friend. Patients are generally too overwhelmed to be able to remember oral instructions, and even a family member or friend may not remember everything. I think it is the responsibility of every doctor to present instructions to the patient in written form, too. Patients must be able to reach their doctor when issues (and non-issues) arise that need to be dealt with. Patients cannot be expected to know intuitively when something is serious or not. A patient should have the right to be able to speak to his physician within a reasonable span of time. Several months ago I had elective surgery. I met with the doctor once, several months prior to the surgery, and certain issues arose following that initial consult. I had the hardest time getting to speak to him. He had a battle-ax and a battle-ax-in-training running interference for him. Each time I'd call and ask for the doctor, I'd get one of them. When I detailed some of my concerns to the battle-ax, her reply was, "Well, if you are so worried, maybe you should not have the surgery at all." No patient should have to put up with that kind of attitude. I called once and asked for the doctor's voice mail, and THE DOCTOR himself actually picked up the phone! But he was in the middle of a consult and could give me no more than 2 minutes. He did not return the call. Nor did he reply to any of the 3 emails I sent him. Some of my concerns were minor, but two were major, and I could not get to talk to him! Because I did not know if I'd be given the opportunity to speak to him before the surgery, and there was something that he had agreed to do during the surgery, which had been discussed at the initial consult, and I was afraid he might forget to do it, I wrote on a piece of paper, which I taped to my belly, so that he could not miss it, PLEASE DON'T FORGET TO REPAIR ****. Now that is really pathetic when a patient is reduced to having to resort to something like that. My doctor is the top in his field, but he is not a good doctor if his patients are unable to reach him, to voice their concerns and ask their questions. Following the surgery, I received, from the president of the hospital, a satisfaction survey (standard practice.) I probably would not have done this on my own initiative, but since I was being asked to rate my treatment, and the form did not give me enough room for my lengthy answers, I wrote a four page letter detailing all of the angst I had experienced over the prior few months. The president clearly shared my letter with my doctor, because the next time I saw the doctor, he really lashed into me, and told me to get off my high horse. (A case of the pot calling the kettle black?) I feel very strongly that the best doctor in the world is not a good doctor if he is unavailable to his patients when they are worried and have concerns. Thank you, Rabbi Salomon, for telling it like it is.

(3) Anonymous, August 26, 2008 7:20 AM

how this is already happening in medical schools today,,

at the recent medical school graduation of my son, the chancellor of the school, repeated these 6 commandments and a few more to the graduates,i know that todays doctors r following them, after witnessing 60 graduates at a fine medical school in israel, 2008..

(2) Rosen, August 24, 2008 3:26 PM

doctor code of ethics

There must be a standard code of ethics applied when making diagnoses and providing medication to patients. If a doctor doesn't know what kind of diagnosis a patient has and automatically prescribes a random, arbitrary medication, then they could get in a lot of trouble if the patient or the patient's family decides to litigate a malpractice lawsuit, even after giving bad advice, such as misdiagnosing an individual for schizophrenia, when he/she may just have some form of autism, OCD, or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). BTW, when you mentioned a doctor in Georgia, did you mean Georgia the US state or Georgia of the old USSR?

(1) mike, August 23, 2008 7:48 PM

excellent article!

i found this very helpful to re-enforce patient expectations.


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