The role of Doctors in our lives
Doctors play a significant role in our lives. The absolute first and the last event of a human are both certified by doctors, in maternity hospitals and morgue. A doctor is a person with extensive knowledge in the domain of medical science, who applies and dedicates his knowledge to identify the medical problem faced by the patient and then uses his skill to prevent or cure it.
Doctors save lives, but their importance goes far beyond that. Doctors also make a difference by helping patients minimize pain, recover from a disease faster or learn to live with a disabling injury. A patient’s ability to enjoy life, even if they can’t be cured, makes a huge difference to them and to their families. If they can go back to work after an illness, that benefits their employer, too. And, that’s only part of what makes doctors important to society.
Nobody wants to become sick, disabled or helpless. Preventing sickness or injury is a better choice: It’s less expensive, better for our health and we lose less income if we don’t get sick too often. Preventive treatment is also important for society as a whole. Many people in the South Africa and around the world can’t afford drugs, hospital stays or surgery. By promoting preventive medicine and keeping people healthy, doctors reduce the health gap between rich and poor populations.
There’s disease, and then there’s plague. Black death and smallpox have wiped out millions of people throughout history; polio paralyzed thousands in the 20th century. By working to contain potential epidemics, doctors prevent disasters. Individual doctors don’t fly solo in these crises. Fighting plagues takes money and organizations that work on a national and international scale. But doctors and other medical professionals are vitally important in the fight.
A medical practice is a small business. Most doctors employ staff and rent or buy office space, pay contractors for repairs and generally improve the community’s economic health as they improve their patients’ health. For instance in 2018, South Africa had 38,000 doctors who support 146,000 jobs and indirectly support 250,000 more. A hospital or medical practice can be an economic driver in towns too small to support most other industries.
In the internet age, there’s no shortage of medical malarkey flying around online. Whatever you’re suffering from, someone knows a miracle cure. Whatever you’re scared of, some website will shriek that it is much, much worse than you think. Doctors have the standing and the knowledge to push back against fake medical news. It’s not just about teaching patients the real steps to staying healthy. Sometimes it’s explaining that there is no cure and so no point to spending money trying to conjure one up.
Shaping Health Policy
State and local governments have a big influence on our communities’ health. Is our water safe to drink? Our food safe to eat? Is there a local treatment program for alcoholics or people hooked on painkillers? If contagious disease is a threat, how does the government mobilize doctors and other professionals? Doctors are only one voice among many that shape public policy. But they have a unique position of respect and trust, which they can use to push governments toward healthcare policies that will genuinely benefit the public.
WOW Magazine – Living April 2019