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« Valuing PCPs | Main | Cleaning for a Reason »

March 09, 2010


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great article! I love to read articles in which my concerns as a patient are voiced: concerns about not being listened to, about not being taken seriously as an expert of what goes on in my body. But it also has a bitter aftertaste: it comes AFTER I've been 'treated' for 2 cancers and I so wished I could have experienced this compassionate approach WHILE it was all going on...


Great column, Wendy, and an important point. And while Jessie's novice status certainly makes her open listening easier, I'll bet she holds that skill longer because of the extra teaching she's had. :)

Wendy S. Harpham, MD

Dear Ria,
Since you liked "Story Time," you may want to take a look at ONLY 10 SECONDS TO CARE, my latest book. Written before I wrote "Story Time," I offer an intimate view of the doctor-patient relationship. Not only do readers gain insight into the challenges facing their healthcare team every day while caring for patients, readers often realize some steps they can take to make it easier for their healthcare team to take good care of them. With hope, Wendy


Since my cancer diagnosis 5 years ago, I always try to keep track of symptoms so, if they don't go away by themselves, I can describe them to my doctor: when they started, what makes them better or worse, how often I have them, etc. She has told me how much she appreciates my record-keeping and "detective work," and I really appreciate that she starts every visit by asking me what's going on & then listening to my answer. That tells her what my top concerns are so we can address them during the visit, along with what her top concerns are when they don't match.

Wendy S. Harpham, MD

Dear Finn,
This is one of the traits that make you a Healthy Survivor. And it sounds like you've both expressed appreciation for the others' efforts and style, the mutual gratitude acting like a glue to strengthen your bond.
With hope, Wendy

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