Monday, September 07, 2009

Where are your medical notes ?

I often see patients who have had many IVF cycles in other centers, and the first thing I need to do is to review their medical records. Like many other doctors , one of the first questions I ask is - Where are your medical notes ?

At this point, patients will show me their medical treatment summary which their earlier doctor gave them - or complain that they don't have any information at all, because the "doctor did not give this to us" !

However, I don't just want to see a summary of the medical tests and treatments the patient has had so far. What I really want to review are the notes which the patient has prepared herself of her medical journey to date. While some doctors are very " possessive" of their medical records, and refuse to give these to their patients ( for reasons best known to them) , every patient can keep a simple summary of what they have done ( in chronological order), so it's easy for the new doctor to get a overall summary of what has been done so far.

I always feel there's no point in blaming a doctor who does not give you your medical records. However, by taking more interest in your treatment, and accepting responsibility for being your own primary caretaker and custodian of your medical records, you can always provide a meaningful story of your medical journey to your doctor !

As Clemenceau said, " War is too important to be left to the generals." Your medical records are too important to be left to your doctor !

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