I have the honor and privilege of being invited to accompany those facing a life-altering diagnosis on their road to wellness. I’ve been doing this work for over twenty years and I’m continually shown the strength of the human spirit. In one of my recent phone conversations with someone at the beginning of their journey I was taken with the experience at their recent doctor visit.
In this day and age I’m excited when the medical community believes in creating a partnership with us, the patient. The days of huge divisions I hope is over, but if not, it’s up to us to educate the medical community. Yesterday I was told about a recent encounter by a man who is currently in the process of diagnostic testing.
The patient was going for the results session following the biopsy. His wife decided to accompany him to this visit because knowing her husband, she knew if anything important was being said that he’d probably block it out. It’s not a surprise that when a doctor is giving us troubling news that we dissociate to try and avoid the pain. That’s why it’s so important forus to bring someoe who can bear witness to the appointment so we don’t miss anything important.
The doctor could have started with the results but instead decided it was important for the wife to hear a summary of everything that had been discussed with the patient prior to giving the results. This doctor understood the importance of having the patient’s support person included in the dialogue and that the only way the wife could fully support her husband was if she had all the information.
I commend the doctor having the savvy to take a couple of extra minutes and save the couple a lot of grief by having he husband disappear and the wife to be lost due to gaps in information. It also helps that the doctor realized the patient is not only the person being treated, but the entire family. This process impacts everyone and keeping everyone in the loop avoids confusion and increases by-in on the part of the patient.
I hope this serves as an example for all medical personnel who have to deliver diagnostic information. I believe that whenever we can aid the patient in hearing and processing the information, the quicker the process of healing can begin.