Sunday, 27 April 2008

... rerum cognoscere causas

Last week I mentioned a geriatrician who sent me what I thought was a rather peremptory and critical letter. I wrote a conciliatory letter back to him to explain my point of view. Rather late in life I have learned that if you want to influence people you must write gently persuasive words rather than an angry riposte. If I may paraphrase Edward Young slightly: “be wise with speed, a fool at fifty is a fool indeed”. I ended my letter by saying that I was particularly concerned to give the best care possible to my patient because I have known her (socially) for forty years. The geriatrician has now written back to me in a much gentler tone, and concludes “as you say one of the great sadnesses about being a doctor but particularly a GP or a geriatrician is to see people deteriorate as they age”. I certainly feel more warmly towards him than I did, and perhaps he will temper his remarks a little when writing clinic letters in future.

It is gratifying to find so many people reading this blog and making positive and encouraging comments. I am sorry that I cannot post more often than I do. It takes me a lot of time to think about events and set them down in a clear fashion. I don't get a lot of spare time, I have two other time-consuming hobbies which I pursue as best I can, and my wife quite likes to talk to me occasionally! Samuel Johnson suggested that “what is written without effort is in general read without pleasure” and, although it does not follow that making an effort will unfailingly produce happy readers, I am never satisfied by the first draft. With my gloomy nature I am convinced that one day extracts from this blog will be read out by a supercilious barrister at a GMC hearing. The chairman may condemn me as a doctor, but I want him or her to be satisfied with my prose.

7 comments:

Elaine said...

Ahh, it is not only junior hospital doctors who think they know more than a GP of long standing, but also Consultants. I am pleased to hear he had the grace to write a conciliatory letter. (Mind you, I am not sure a junior doctor would....)

jellyhead said...

It's so hard to respond to criticism with gentle words, but you did it well obviously.

I know what you mean about writing posts - I like to take my time writing, and revise what I've written, too. It IS a bit scary to know that once published on a blog, our words forever belong to the vast worldwide web. Still, I figure our blogs are like diaries, if we save our posts regularly. One day we will be glad of having recorded our thoughts for posterity.... hopefully!

Dr Aust said...

Crikey, Andrew, six posts or so a month sounds pretty good to me. I am a verbose person and I rarely even manage one post a fortnight. And I reckon really prolific bloggers like Dr Crippen must have made a Faustian bargain to do with typing speed.

Caroline Hunt said...

As long as you don't stop posting I don't mind :)

Dr Andrew Brown said...

Elaine: the consultants do know more than us about certain areas, and vice versa. It's a respect thing, but I daresay we can be a bit thin-skinned at times.

Jellyhead: I keep a diary and a log as well as the blog. Not that I'm obsessional or anything! But it's true that once released onto the web we lose all control over what we have written, so best get it right first.

Dr Aust: The likes of JC and JD write prolifically and well. I don't know how they do it, or where they get all their ideas from. You and I will just have to plod along. :-)

Caroline: I'm glad you enjoy the blog. Don't worry, I'm still having some ideas and I intend to keep writing them up as time permits. Stop me if I start repeating myself, or paint myself as insufferably nice. Mrs Brown could tell you all my bad points, if I let her.

Dragonfly said...

Regarding having a blog read out in court (like Dr Flea)....I wonder if blogging (or disclosure of blogs) will be included in medical contracts in years to come? Unless it is true what people say that now we are in the post-blog era and into the era of Facebook....

Dr Andrew Brown said...

Dragonfly: A no-blogging clause might well be included in hospital contracts before too long. GPs are a bit more independant than our hospital colleagues - we are private contractors providing services to the NHS - so it might be more difficult to include such stipulations. For the time being there aren't many GP bloggers, and we are all such respectful and distinguished folk that no-one would want to silence us. :-)