Does giving patients knowledge always empower them?
It is in all of us, that overwhelming desire to know. It may be good, it may be bad, it may be ugly—yet still we strive to find out. During the ward rounds on my neurology placement last year, an idea began to take shape. In bed after bed there was what seemed like patient after patient with a devastating diagnosis. And many of these patients had little hope of successful treatment. Has knowledge of their diagnosis benefited these patients as much as we might hope?
With countless health related websites available for general consumption and the Gunther von Hagens of this world vying for the public’s attention, the patriarchal days of medicine are long behind us. Our patients now crave the knowledge about their disease that they were once happy to forgo. Not necessarily a bad thing, I hear you say, but is all this knowledge doing our patients