Once people called the doctor only when they were sick-weak, disabled, troubled by pain or suffering. Now the doctor’s functions include not only relief from symptoms, but the prevention of disease and its cure when possible. Moreover, modem medicine realizes that the whole human being is always involved not just one spot of pain or disability. The doctor studies the patient as a complete unit, including both mind and body and the effects on mind and body of the patient’s surroundings or environment.
The doctor sees people nowadays for periodic physical and mental examinations, for study before the insurance company undertakes insurance, and for a survey before the person undertakes any employment or enters on any new activity. The doctor has to know why the patient wants an examination. Is he or she contemplating marriage or giving birth to a child? Does the young man or woman want to engage in sports that carry with them hazards to life and health? Is the young man trying to get into the armed services, or is he trying to get out of them? Is the woman trying to find an alibi for avoiding some unpleasant duty or relationship? The doctor must evaluate the situation, because the nature of the patient’s symptoms and his method of description may be greatly influenced by his reasons for being examined.
When you see the doctor, he will be interested first in relieving you of the distress which in most instances caused you to seek his advice. In connection with this immediate problem he will want to find out about your background-the family, social, or business situation in which you live, and how that relates to your trouble. Then too, the doctor has the responsibility of protecting others from hazards that arise out of your condition.