Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Why I sometimes get angry and upset with IVF patients

When I see patients who have received poor quality IVF care, my heart breaks . I am upset that my medical colleague ( who is my professional peer) has done a bad job. However, what also gets my goat is the fact that the patient has taken such little interest in their treatment . It bothers me that patients leave everything up to the doctor and are not willing to take the time and trouble to be more actively engaged in their treatment . Now I can pardon uneducated or illiterate patients , but if patients who are educated and well-informed don’t do their homework , then this is much harder to forgive.

There is a lot an active and engaged patient can contribute to their medical care, and it’s only when patients start partnering with their doctor that doctors will start shaping up and improving . It’s the patient’s lackadaisical attitude  and willing to passively put up with whatever the doctor dishes out) which actually contributes to the carelessness and lack of attention to detail which doctors display so routinely.

It’s true that patients cannot change their doctor’s behaviors . If they are lucky and find a good doctor who is conscientious and professional , then they are fine. However, if they are not so fortunate, and end up with a sloppy doctor, then blaming the doctor after the cycle fails, or complaining about the medical profession no longer cares about patients really doesn’t help anyone.

It’s the patient who suffers the most damage – and the biggest tragedy is that a lot of this could be prevented if patients were more proactive and involved.  I care for my patients, and it bothers me when I see this happen and this is why I get upset and angry.

The traditional way of addressing the problem has been regulating doctors , to try to make sure they follow basic professional standards and guidelines. However, this approach has its limitations – especially in a country like India, where it’s hard to enforce some of these rules.

Helping the patient to help themselves can be  a far more constructive approach. There’s no need to treat patients as being stupid and passive. It makes a lot of sense to focus on what the patient can do himself to improve the care he receives. A good patient can change his own behavior , and by making sure that he's well-informed and has realistic expectations of what a good IVF get clinic can deliver , the chances of his being taken for a ride by an unethical doctor go down dramatically . This is why I get extremely upset when I find that patients are clueless about the treatment they have received, and have chosen to be passive participants , who have left everything up to the doctor. Doctors are not Gods, and patients need to invest time and energy in doing their homework and finding the right doctor, who respects them, so that they can ensure that the treatment is progressing as it supposed to.

I'm not trying to make excuses for incompetence on the part of doctors . While doctors should be held responsible for providing poor quality care , at the end of the day , it takes two hands to clap , and patients also need to take responsibility for the quality of care which they receive. This is especially true for IVF treatment, which is elective , and where patients are healthy , can think clearly , and can make decision for themselves.

Educated intelligent IVF patients need to learn to be proactive. Not only will this help the to get better medical care, it will also help them to improve the standards of care their doctor provides to other patients, so that everyone benefits in the long run.

Need help in making sure you have done your homework properly ? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at http://www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so I can guide you sensibly!

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