Ever wonder why a lot of Doctors are poor?
Yeah, you got it right - free consultations.
Sadly, yours truly is a major offender.
If I was given a penny for every free consultation I have given, I'd probably be on a remote Island somewhere, sipping fruit juice under a coconut tree, being served by various butlers in black and white tuxedos.
The temptation to give free consultations comes in various forms especially via telephone and text messages; sometimes, you are even required to reply using your own credit.
Examples of questions I have been asked on the phone include:
"My son has what looks like a rash, what can I give him?"
"I have a swelling here, what do I use?"
Note, in these instances, I have no means of seeing the offending rash or swelling, nor am I given more information about it as regards the site, size or shape of the rash, but somehow, I have to provide a cure over the distance.
You could also be out in public and someone introduces you as a doctor, the next thing is, "Doctor what do you think this is?" "What can I use?"
I have decided to stop giving free consultations/ services because of my experience with two cases:
1. The case of Mr B.
Mr B works in a utility company. Lately, I have been billed ridiculously, most of the time through Mr B himself who claims not to have any say on the billing - but Mr B who is a diabetic/ hypertensive comes to my home to have his blood pressure and sugar checked and receives a new prescription, without me taking a dime from him.
2.The case of Mr E.
Mr E does some work and electric fittings for me, he is always paid in full; after his work he asks,"Dr I have this pain here, What can I take?" I am expected to give him a free prescription .
WHY DO PEOPLE ALWAYS EXPECT FREE CONSULTATIONS FROM DOCTORS?
1. Medicine is a ' humanitarian' profession.
This comes from the so called Hippocratic oath; reading through the original oath and the Modern version, no where did I see it written, "I shall work for free."
2. Knew you before you became a doctor: Yes, we grew up together, or went to the same college, I don't have to pay to see you or to ask your opinion do I?
3. Doctors lack of business sense.
So my new year resolution is - no more free consultations.
Are you in support? What is your take on the issue?