Organisation - February 7, 2013

Don't ask me, I'm a (Dutch) doctor

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Gastredacteur

Having lived in the Netherlands for six years I have gone through my fair share of visits to Dutch doctors.

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One of the first visits was about a problem which brought me one too many headaches. My GP sent me to several specialists for consultations. After several months of meetings and negative tests I found myself sitting in front of a dermatologist. She had done a test on her first guess at the problem, which came out negative. When I arrived to pick up the results she casually said, 'I don't know what's wrong.' Silence. I asked if it could be an allergy. She praised my analytical skills, saying I might be right and sent me off to do the tests. That was somewhat confusing for me - I grew up with the notion that it is the doctor who knows best. Yet now I ended up diagnosing myself.
In another consultation I came prepared with a diagnosis. That took me some time, doing the reading beforehand. The doctor wasn't getting very far so I offered my suggestion. He said I might be right and checked it on Google, just in case. He concluded that I was indeed on the right track and I could do the test.
I told a Dutch friend of mine about this, expecting to see her shocked. Yet she regarded it as appropriate that the doctors were listening to me as a patient. Had I known about the listening skills of the Dutch doctors, I would have known about my allergy a bit quicker than after six months...  However, one question still remains: What if I were unconscious? 
Latina Percheva, Bulgarian MSc student of Environmental Sciences
Do you have a nice anecdote about your experience of going Dutch? Send it in! Describe an encounter with Dutch culture in detail and comment on it briefly. 300 words max. Send it to resource@wur.nl and earn fifty euro and Dutch candy.

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