In an age of constant public sharing of information and opinions on social media, one of the few absolutely confidential conversations we can have, apart from with a priest, is with a doctor. Secrets are told in the consulting room, tears are shed, news is given, both bad and good. The object of both the patient and the doctor’s attention is the complex, wondrous, often miraculous ways in which our minds and bodies work. And the grief we feel when they don’t.
This confidential conversation came under fresh scrutiny yesterday as NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence') published new guidelines for doctors, encouraging them to cut down on the prescription of antibiotics.
Professor Mark Baker’s language was strong: “the whole basis of modern medicine relies on the assumption that infection can be treated successfully”. He explained that the over-prescription of antibiotics has global consequences. Fighting infections such as Multi drug Resistant TB becomes impossible and if the surgeon’s ability to control infection goes, life saving operations, such as organ transplants, will become a thing of the past. The antibiotic apocalypse.
Our 10 minute conversation with the GP is not only private but short. And it is this that perhaps provides some of the context for the problem. Patients will often say I haven’t got time to be ill. When people on a zero hours contract, or self employed, lose pay if they don’t work, or the demands of children require parents to be up and running however rough they feel, the temptation to ask for a drug that will get us better faster is clear.
We have lost patience with our own body’s capacity to heal itself; because time is of the essence and we have to keep going.
For the doctor too, aware of the pressure on the NHS as a whole, the temptation to avoid conflict and give the patient what they want, mindful of the packed waiting room outside must cause stress too.
Taking a longer view together, connects our immediate need for relief with the consequences for future generations. We would connect too our private consultation and the global crisis in infection control. And importantly, we could be reminded that in a lot more cases than we think, our created selves can heal ourselves.
Our bodies can fight minor infections on their own, given time and rest; two elements of life often in too short supply. The principle of creation repairing and renewing itself is at the heart of the Jewish and Christian traditions and one of Jesus’s frequently asked questions of his contemporaries was “do you want to be well”?
To want humanity to be well in the greatest sense might mean sometimes letting ourselves be sick in the meantime.
《 BBC Radio 4：新指导方针要求医生减少抗生素处方》出自：天天学英语