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So a few days ago there was a patient who’d come into the out patient department to see the orthopedist we’d been shadowing. She was a follow up patient, who as soon as she walked in repeated her complaint. Let me give you an idea of how it sounded.

“You should do surgery”

“What surgery?”

“My knee hurts.”

“So should I replace it?”

“Well, I cant walk”

“That doesn’t mean I should do surgery”

“Well, why can’t I walk?”

“Because you’re overweight…. Lose weight…”

That was the gist of the conversation. And then, the patient smiling sheepishly left.

It’s a conversation that I can’t imagine being repeated in a US hospital. It’s a conversation unique for being so blunt and requiring a certain relationship between patient and doctor that is present in India, but harder to find in the hospital.

Is that something you’d prefer to hear? Or do you prefer the system presently in place in the US.

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