October 12, 2001

 Code of Ethical Behaviour for Patients

  • Do not expect your doctor to share your discomfort.
  • Involvement with the patient’s suffering might cause him to lose valuable scientific objectivity.
  • Be cheerful at all times.
  • Your doctor leads a busy and trying life and requires all the gentleness and reassurance he can get.
  • Try to suffer from the disease for which you are being treated.
  • Remember that your doctor has a professional reputation to uphold.
  • Do not complain if the treatment fails to bring relief.
  • You must believe that your doctor has achieved a deep insight into the true nature of your illness, which transcends any mere permanent disability you may have experienced.
  • Never ask your doctor to explain what he is doing or why he is doing it.
  • It is presumptuous to assume that such profound matters could be explained in terms that you would understand.
  • Submit to novel experimental treatment readily.
  • Though the surgery may not benefit you directly, the resulting research paper will surely be of widespread interest.
  • Pay your medical bills promptly and willingly.
  • You should consider it a privilege to contribute, however modestly, to the well-being of physicians and other humanitarians.
  • Do not suffer from ailments that you cannot afford.
  • It is sheer arrogance to contract illnesses that are beyond your means.
  • Never reveal any of the shortcomings that have come to light in the course of treatment by your doctor.
  • The patient-doctor relationship is a privileged one, and you have a sacred duty to protect him from exposure.
  • Never die while in your doctor’s presence or under his direct care.
  • This will only cause him needless inconvenience and embarrassment.

Will McGuffin, Author

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