My friend is learning to become an Opthalotologist, but she is struggling with writing an essay about communication in her profession. Naturally I stepped up and wrote it for her. I reproduce my essay below. Since I wrote this in about 20 minutes, I can only conclude that I should be able to consider myself a fully qualified eye doctor. Feel free to make an appointment.
Communication is naturally an important part of any interaction between two humans, eye doctoring included. Smooth communication is necessary to facilitate any number of small parts of an interaction between an optician and their patient. But while seamless communication is evidenced by the fact that it is not noticeable, even a small failure in communication can stymie an interaction completely. To add a further layer of complication, it may not even be obvious to either party that communication has failed, or, if the failure in communication is only evident to one party, that party may then fail to communicate this fact to the other.
A failure of communication may vary in severity from a seemingly successful interaction where the patient then fails to follow the optician’s advice or where the optician has failed to administer the correct treatment to the patient due to a misunderstanding, to an emotional confrontation between clinician and patient, perhaps resulting in physical violence or death. Indicators that communication has failed towards the lower end of the spectrum might only be uncovered by chance. Conversely, if the patient kills the optician quickly, they may never actually perceive that the failure in communication has occurred, even if it is so obvious it is busting their skull open.
Assuming without reason that this is in fact a binary pairing, and that interactions between clinicians and patients where there is a failure in communication will only result in either difficult-to-detect mistakes or death, we can conclude that two preventative measures are necessary.
For the first, lesser, part we must recommend a radical restructuring of society with drastically reduced privacy. In this case clinicians will be able to see every tiny aspect of a patient’s life and the potential for miscommunication will be drastically reduced. Clinicians will quite simply already know everything about their patients and their problems, and communication will be rendered unnecessary. In the process, democracy will be fundamentally undermined, but this pales into consideration when compared to the benefits of perfect eye-care for every citizen.
The threat of violence against eye-care practitioners is still present, however. Even with complete surveillance, the inside of a person’s mind and their intentions remain inscrutable, at least to modern technology. Until such time as a person’s very thoughts can be monitored, it is recommended that to avoid violence against clinicians, every new patient be rendered unconscious or killed immediately on attending their eye-care appointment. This will have the added positive effect of preventing incidents where the movement of a patient can make care provision difficult or dangerous. Naturally the patient (or their next of kin) should be charged for this service.
When considering this on the fundamental level, all problems resulting from patient-clinician interactions stem from the fact that the patient must accurately convey information to the clinician and must also be capable of understanding and acting upon the instructions of that clinician. The potential for confusion can therefore be greatly decreased simply by requiring that information should be controlled completely by the clinician.
To whit, the solution to all the problems that can occur during a clinical interaction with a patient could be solved by creating a society wherein opticians exist in sealed and heavily secured bunkers. Their pronouncements will be beamed out to the world on giant television screens placed so that no person can ever fail to see or hear them. A dense network of surveillance will convey information of every person’s life to their optician and they will have no way to communicate with their optician by themselves. On attending their appointment with their optician they will be killed painlessly and then operated upon in an environment of complete safety for all parties. This, my opticianal friends, would be UTOPIA.