Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My doctor does not tell me anything !

A statue of Asclepius. The Glypotek, Copenhagen.Image via Wikipedia

This is one of the commonest complaints patients have about their IVF treatment

Failing an IVF cycle is heartbreaking - but what make a bad situation much worse is the lack of transparency during and after the IVF treatment.

Many IVF doctors refuse to share even basic details of the medical treatment with their patients.
They do not bother to formulate a treatment plan or provide details of how the cycle is progressing. Patients do not even know simple information, such as how many follicles are growing; how many egg were collected; or how many cells their embryos have !

Patients who ask questions are usually fobbed off by saying - " Everything is fine, don't worry"; or " The doctor will talk to you and explain your results" - but the doctor is never available ! A lot of the treatment seems to be done on an "ad hoc" basis, with the decisions being made by junior doctors, since the senior doctor is often inaccessible

To add insult to injury, if the IVF cycle fails, the poor patient is treated as a pariah ! Rather than providing patients with emotional support and a shoulder to cry on, many clinics will refuse to give these patients an appointment, to help explain to them what went wrong and what can be done to fix the problem

Patients feel abandoned - and find it very hard to even get a get a simple treatment summary from the clinic !

Part of the fault is the doctor's - but I think there's little point in blaming doctors or complaining about them ! Good doctors will always behave well - and bad doctors will never improve ! I feel patients need to take the initiative and take a proactive approach. Before you sign up for the treatment cycle ( and most patients seem to feel that they do get royal treatment until they make their payments !) make sure your questions will be answered .

It's quite easy to judge how open the clinic is and what their philosophy is towards providing details by talking to the nurses; and to other patients ! Doing this will often provide you with much more insight into the doctor's attitude towards patients than anything else will. If the staff is rude , there's a high chance the doctor will be curt too, because staff members will often model their behaviour on what they see the doctor doing !

Also, talking to other patients can be helpful. If they are well-informed and are aware of their treatment details, this suggests the doctor has an open sharing and caring philosophy !
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