A guide to medical etiquette: giving advice to family members and friends
Because you are a medical student, your friends, acquaintances, and the public will expect certain things of you. They will presume that you work long hours and drink to excess.
A more strongly held belief is that you should be able to explain any gripe, and to translate any medical consultation that they have taken part in. Failure to fulfil this expectation will meet with swift and merciless retribution.
Family members will visibly sadden in disappointment.
Therefore, in your own interests and those of your family, giving advice is a skill you must acquire.
There are two main ways to do this. The first way is to learn medicine, surgery, pathology, communication skills, and puzzle solving (for example, you may be asked to explain what the doctor meant by “spider levis”). This is time consuming and impractical.
Instead, all you need do is learn a few simple techniques, and your good name and steady cash flow will endure.
The first and best technique is the ethical argument. Simply explain that although you know the answer to the query, you ought