I just saw a patient who had failed 3 IVF cycles in another clinic. She wanted a second opinion as to what else could be done , to increase her chances of having a successful IVF and getting pregnant. I asked her for a copy of her IVF medical records , so I could review exactly what had been done for her. Based on this information , I could design a better protocol , to increase her chances of achieving a pregnancy.
She told me that she didn't have any copies of her medical records at all . I was quite disappointed and asked her if she could arrange to get a printed summary of her IVF medical records, including photos of her embryos. Much to my surprise, she said - I'm scared to ask my Doctor for copies of my medical records , because I'm worried that he might be offended if I asked him for these. Do you really require them doctor? Can't you just to start my treatment ? or just repeat whatever tests you need ?
I was stunned. I just couldn't believe that a patient could be so scared of offending her doctor that she would refuse to even asked for a copy of her records ! Your medical records belong to you. They are your property , and while it's fine for the doctor to safeguard them, he is obligated by law to give you a copy when you ask for these. In fact , most good IVF clinics will proactively and routinely give patients a copy of their medical records , whether they ask for them or not. It's important for doctors to be open and transparent , and sharing medical records is a great way of doing so.
I wondered about how fragile her doctors ego was, that he would take offense at such a simple request. Would he feel threatened? Or would he feel that the patient was being disloyal and unfaithful by going to another doctor?
What amazed me even more is the fact that the patient was so scared of offending her doctor ! In a good doctor-patient relationship, both doctor and patient are equal partners and there should be no element of fear , if this relationship needs to be a healthy one.
I can understand why some doctors would want to assume a dominant position in this relationship - operating from a position of strength and keeping patients in a submissive posture can help them to increase their throughput , and is quite a rational strategy from their point of view. However, I cannot understand why patients would be willing to put up with this kind of behavior from a doctor , given the fact that they have so many choices today !
Maybe patients who are willing to accept this kind of behavior deserve the kind of doctor they get ?