Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 22 seconds

Yes. I have had similar experiences. Sometimes a doctor is too arrogant to bother explaining something, or sometimes lacks the communicative skills to do that. What they can do depends on their training and dealing with patients isn’t a major focus. In one university I worked at, medical students openly challenged the notion that ethics should be part of their training. What do doctors need ethics for? If they can’t understand this, then they won’t accept that communicating with patients has any value either.

One difference I do see is that Egyptians tend to be more skeptical of medical authority. This is a good thing. Too much trust in doctors can get you killed as easily as not listening to them at all. As in every other domain of human activity, we need to apply a degree of criticality to what we are doing: We must not allow others to make important decisions for us an in order to do this, we need to know what information we need to gather, where to get it, and how to interpret it.

Traditional education in the Middle East paid a lot of attention to information literacy. We do not see it so much now, that ME education have been submerged beneath imported systems that value content and testing above all else. Nevertheless, there is a cultural memory of more open traditions. Moving to something better in the Middle East will be a different process, and probably less dramatic, that it will be in the West. A lot depends on the willingness to question, to challenge, and to change.