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What good are you?
Jul 24, 2004

Can you answer questions from your knowledge instead of from the open book. Why are n't you answer tough questions instead of easy baby questions? The kind of questions you been answering I can find almost everywhere. Have not seen you answered one question that at the doctor level. What good are you huh- Renslow Sherer?

Response from Dr. Sherer

You are right that I am very conservative in my answers in this forum. In my opinion, it would not be appropriate for me to speculate or offer risky advice in this venue; it would not be good practice for the people I advise, nor for the others who seek information on HIV care and treatment here.

So a first rule of mine here is to provide answers to questions on which there is a substantial body of evidence to support the answer. I see that as an important obligation of my role.

Any HIV clinician with experience will tell you that there are all too many times when our patients ask us questions to which there are not certain answers - the tough questions. You are also right to suggest that my answers to these questions are more often simply an explanation of why I am unable to answer them due to lack of data, and to offer more general advice on the approach to the question.

In my own practice, I may be willing to offer less conventional solutions to clinical problems, as long as the patient understands the dilemma, and the possible consequences of a novel approach. That too is difficult to achieve. And it would not be appropriate in this forum.

I'm glad to hear that you have access to good quality clinical information about HIV, as many do not.

In the pre-HAART era, we often asked ourselves what good we were, as we often could do little more than provide comfort and a kind word to people who were dying from AIDS. In this era, fortunately, we are often able to help people more substantially.

Finally, it is also common, though unfortunate, for patients to take their illness out on their doctors, nurses, and others, out of frustration. This kind of anger is not a great strategy, as the most powerful weapon available to people living with HIV is a good relationship with their health care team. Too often, a patient's frustration arises from insensitive or flippant treatment from their doctor; in that case, I advise patients to find another doctor, though that is easier to say than to accomplish.


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