Monday, February 06, 2012

Why patients need to do their homework !

I saw a patient today who had been taking treatment for the last two years; she had had irregular cycles which is why her doctor had put her on medicines for ovulation induction. However, she had not done any tests to find out whether her tubes were open or not !

When I asked her – “ Why haven’t you done a hysterosalpingogram ( HSG) to check your tubal
status ? “, the answer was one which I’ve heard many times in the past – “I didn't do it because my doctor didn't tell me to do it “. I explained to her how important this basic test is - that you really can't proceed with treatment without establishing whether the tubes are open ; and just because the cycles are irregular does not mean that we can automatically assume that your tubes are fine .

She got very upset and started blaming her doctor . If it's such a basic test, then why didn’t my doctor tell me to do it ? I don't think that's a satisfactory answer anymore in this day & age, where there is so much information available on the Internet for patients , that patients who are interested can easily educate themselves and arm themselves with the right information, rather than leave everything upto their doctor.

Blaming the Doctor doesn't really help anyone - and the damage which has been done to her by wasting her time is something for which she's the one who's paying the price - not the Doctor. It's important for patients to do their homework - not doing your homework can prove to be extremely expensive I think the problem is patients tend to underestimate their intelligence . They think doctors are extremely smart and know everything . Yes, doctors know quite a bit - but you are smart too , and you need to become an expert on your personal problem. You don't need to become a doctor , but you should be finding out about all your options and understanding what your choices are , so you can discuss these intelligently with your doctor .

Doctors are human , and they can make mistakes ; but expert patients , when they partner with their doctor will make sure that the doctor doesn't allow errors to occur , or things to fall in between the cracks .

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