Which waitress do you prefer?

Waitress #1: Hi, would you like a cup of coffee?

Waitress #2: Hello sir/ma’am, would you like a beaker of steam-extracted Coffea arabica?

As the humorous video below reminds us, if it’s important for a waitress to communicate effectively then certainly  doctors should too.

The leaders in science and medicine understand this and they’re trying to get the message out.

That’s why, for example, the video was posted on Jennifer Doudna’s Twitter page. Dr. Doudna teaches at Berkeley and is the co-discoverer of the gene editing technology called CRISPR that has – oy vey – the power to control evolution and thus considered by many the most important invention of this century.

So, too, the prestigious National Academy of Medicine, who just called for the greater participation of patients in their own care, to which infectious disease expert Brad Spellberg, MD, tweeted, Yes! Need to move away from paternalistic medicine!

And Stuart Levy, MD, a pioneer in the field of antibiotic resistance told a live audience at the Harvard School of Public Health, “If I had $800,000 to spend on fighting infectious disease, he said, I’d spend $700,000 of it on educating the community: They need to be a partner in using antibiotics properly.”

But if partners don’t speak the same language, confusion reigns. Hence the World Health Organization report telling us that 3/4 of us think that antibiotic resistance happens when the body becomes resistant to antibiotics (it’s the bug that becomes resistant to the drug). And nearly 2/3 of us believe antibiotics can be used to treat colds and flu, despite the fact that antibiotics have no impact on viruses.

As the other half of the partnership, patients have a role to play too. It can be as simple as asking your doctor which waitress they would prefer.

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