I was having a conversation with a patient who was in tears . I asked her what happened , and this is what she told me.
She was a very successful entrepreneur who had been suffering from diabetes for many years, but due to her busy schedule, she had not been able to control her blood sugar levels properly . She had tried hard to control her diet and lose weight but it was all in vain. She had come to me about 5 years ago for IVF treatment and I had suggested she first control her diabetes and then come back.
5 years later, she was back, but still had had no success in controlling her diabetes . However, her urge to have a baby was much stronger and she insisted I do the IVF treatment for her right now. She was realistic about her chances , since age wasn’t on her side, but she was happy to give it her best shot.
Luckily she got pregnant in the very first IVF attempt , and was excited about this. I referred her to an obstetrician who specialized in high risk pregnancy management, who would help manager her pregnancy and her diabetes.
Instead of helping her to control her diabetes, this senior doctor kept badgering about how irresponsible she had been in failing to control her diabetes. He also blamed her for being careless and opting for IVF treatment to conceive, despite knowing about the fact her diabetes was uncontrolled. Instead of empathizing with her, he was mean , and this attitude had upset her. Doctors need to remember that patients do have a life outside the clinic – and many of them are so busy doing so many interesting things, that they may fail to prioritise taking good care of their health. This does not mean they are careless and irresponsible . Rather than making them feel worse by blaming them , doctors should try to empower them with tools so they can make healthy changes in their lifestyle – one step at a time. Nudging works much better than criticizing !
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