Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Patients of a different breed

One of the reasons I enjoy my practise is because it's fun interacting with my patients. I learn a lot from them ! For example, one of my patients recently hand-carried her husband's frozen sperm sample with her from the USA in dry ice. I had always thought that in order to transport frozen sperm, one needed a dry shipper which keeps the frozen sperm chilled at minus 196 C. These are big, bulky expensive containers which are hard to get and diffcult to carry. A dry ice box, on the other hand, costs a few dollars, and dry ice is easily available at any caterer ! When I thawed the sample and saw the motile sperm, I was impressed - a new learning experience for me. She was an equine embryologist, and told me this is something they do routinely for horses ! Not only did I learn something new, I was able to educate my other patients about this much simpler and cheaper option as well by publishing this information on my website ! Patients can be the best form of CME - continuing medical education - if doctors are willing to learn from them. I feel this may also be because we are now seeing a different breed of patients - educated , articulate, net-savvy, who can think "out of the box" !

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