Thursday, August 22, 2013

Doctors as teachers

As a doctor, I have a responsibility to not only be a good doctor, but to make sure that my patients understand what is going on with their body. Though I am an IVF doctor, I am more than just a doctor because I am a teacher too.

Nothing is more upsetting to me as a doctor than to see patients who are clueless about what their medical condition is, and the options they have to finally become a parent. I am a doctor who believes in teaching his patients because I want to be the best doctor I can be for them.

I have dedicated my life to medicine, and I want my patients to be happy with the services we provide. It is my duty to teach my patients about infertility and IVF . What makes me happy is when I get encouragement from my patients. Most infertile couples are anxious to learn, which makes my job a lot easier. My patients who are cooperative through the learning process really make me happy to be a doctor because they clearly want to do everything they can to have a child. By educating them, I can help them to achieve their goal.

Sadly, there's still a lot of misinformation about IVF. Even leading reputable IVF clinics take their patients for a ride by aggressively promoting expensive , unproven treatments, such as immunotherapy. Sadly, many infertile couples are so desperate that they are happy to grasp at straws. However, this just adds insult to injury, as they end up wasting their hard-earned money on chimeras. It's very easy for doctors to push these treatments on unsuspecting patients. Many patients will uncritically accept everything their doctor says, when it is couched in the impenetrable medical jargon of immunology and genetics ( which most IVF doctors do not understand either !). For one, most patients believe the doctor is the expert, and that they will never be able to understand enough about reproductive medicine to be able to challenge their recommendations . For another, they so desperately want to find the "magic bullet", that they will do anything and everything a doctor tells them to do . It's not very hard to convince desperate infertile couples !

Our approach is completely different. We treat our patients as mature adults, who need to become experts on their problem, because the outcome of any IVF treatment cycle is always uncertain. While not all patients have the maturity or ability to invest in learning about IVF, we are happy to treat that small group who understands the importance of being well-informed because they have realistic expectations of what we can do to help them to have a baby.


Thanks to this, my expert patients have managed to teach me as much as I have taught them. The more I learn from my patients, the better I can teach them because they make me feel more creative. Instead of just using books to educate my patients, I use videos, comic books, e-learning courses, and more to reach out to them. Being able to teach my patients in creative ways that help me learn too is why I love being a doctor!

Need help in making sense of your infertility treatment options ? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/malpaniform.htm so that I can guide you better !

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