Some years ago, a relative of mine with backache messaged me saying they had met the most awesome doctor, who saw them even though it was 2 AM in the morning, gave them adequate time (15 mins), examined them, discussed their problems, answered their questions and prescribed the appropriate medication.
I blanched. Unless it is an emergency like a stroke or a heart attack, there is no earthly reason to see any doctor at 2 AM for a regular office/OPD consult, however busy or famous that doctor may be.
The “time of day” can affect our health and outcomes in 3 different ways.
1. The advice we get from doctors and hence our outcomes can vary depending on the “time of day” when it comes to regular outpatient and/or non-emergency consults.
2. Our body’s response to stimuli can vary during different parts of the day, depending upon our circadian rhythm (e.g. better antibodies to influenza vaccinations, when given in the morning, as against the afternoon ).
3. The quality of services we get in emergency and acute situations may be variable at different times during a 24-hours period, though it shouldn’t.
Our focus today is on the first issue. The “time of day’ when we see a doctor for a non-emergency consult… is a controllable matka for most people…and it matters.
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