A CODE OF ETHICAL BEHAVIOR FOR PATIENTS

1. Do Not Expect Your Doctor To Share Your Discomfort.
Involvement with the patient's suffering might cause him/her to lose valuable scientific objectivity.

2. Be Cheerful At All Times.
You doctor leads a busy and trying life and requires all the gentleness and reassurance he/she can get.

3. Try To Suffer From The Disease For Which You Are Being Treated.
Remember that your doctor has a professional reputation to uphold.

4. 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.

5. Never Ask Your Doctor To Explain What He Is Doing Or Why She Is Doing It.
It is presumptuous to assume that such profound matters could be explained in terms that you would understand.

6. Submit To Novel Experimental Treatment Readily.
Though the surgery may not benefit you directly, the resulting research paper will surely be of widespread interest.

7. 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.

8. Do Not Suffer From Ailments That You Cannot Afford.
It is sheer arrogance to contract illnesses that are beyond your means.

9. 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/her from exposure.

10. Never Die While In Your Doctor's Presence Or Under His/Her Direct Care.
This will only cause him/her needless inconvenience and embarrassment.

Although I know many excellent physicians, I also know one or two who could have written the above or would see absolutely no irony in it. It is to these doctors that it is dedicated.

Will McGuffin, Author


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Washington Apple Pi IFAQ
December 4, 1998 Lawrence I. Charters