Trust Your Instincts (Doctors)
Trust Your Instincts (Doctors)
Trust Your Instincts (Doctors)

Trust Your Instincts (Doctors)

Have you put your doctor on a pedestal? Why your health could depend on recognizing that doctors are people, too.

Last Updated: August 21, 2018
Contributor: Meghann Shantz

We hear from a cancer doctor who learned the power of empathy after her own cancer diagnosis, a professional patient advocate, and a couple whose daughter’s near-fatal illness was “missed” by several experts.

Explored in this episode

  • The importance of trust and respect in every relationship, including the relationship with your health care providers
  • The problems with consulting Google to diagnose your own symptoms
  • Tips on how to make sure you completely understand your doctor’s opinion
  • How to advocate for yourself and your health while fostering respect and trust
  • Learning when to accept a diagnosis -- and when to ask more questions
  • The importance of trusting your gut when it comes to your health, and the health of your family

Voices in the conversation

 

Dr. Pamela Munster

Professor of medicine at University of California San Francisco, program leader for experimental therapeutics and co-leader of the Center for BRCA Research at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

I’ve run over so many patients.

As a medical oncologist, Dr. Munster focuses on breast cancer research, and develops new, experimental drugs and immunotherapies. Her treatments are designed for advance-stage cancer patients, and patients with cancer mutations that are hereditary in nature (carriers of the BRCA gene). Her life, and her understanding of the patient-doctor relationship -- was put to the test when a she was diagnosed with BRCA-related breast cancer.

She describes her transformative experience of receiving a diagnosis as opposed to giving one, and the changes she made to her patient care approach after she returned to her practice. Dr. Munster’s advice for patients facing a diagnosis is to take someone with you to your appointment, record the conversation, and be open to listening to your expert doctor’s advice before relying on your own research. For doctors, she says recognizing your patient’s needs in the challenging time of diagnosis will support recovery. But her essential advice for doctors and patients is the same: recognize that the individual sitting across from you is a real person, and deserves compassion, empathy and trust.

 

Linda Adler, MPH, MA

Founder and CEO of Pathfinders Medical

I find so often that people are suddenly sick and they have no idea what’s covered and what’s not covered.

Pathfinders Medical, based in San Francisco, is a unique company that empowers patients to effectively navigate the intricacies of the American healthcare system, while simultaneously utilizing the patient experience to improve the entire medical system.

Linda’s professional focus covers the areas of decision support, health communication and health care technology. Her extensive work at the University of California San Francisco, Stanford and Kaiser Permanente make her uniquely qualified to help others traverse the medical system in order to obtain the best care possible.

She shares her thoughts on how taking greater responsibility for our health will help us achieve better health outcomes.

 

Jason and Charlotte Maude

Co-founders of Isabel Healthcare

The reason why people get misdiagnosed, the single biggest reason, is that nobody thought about it. And nobody thought about it in time.

Jason and Charlotte Maude are two people who have thought a lot about what it means to place your trust in doctors. They’re the founders of a UK-based company that creates diagnostic systems for use by emergency room physicians—tools designed to prevent misdiagnosis. They founded Isabel Healthcare after their three-year-old daughter, Isabel, was misdiagnosed in an emergency room setting, with severe consequences. And, interestingly, they have created these tool with the help of the physicians who were part of Isabel’s health struggle.

 

References

 

Necrotizing Fasciitis

Often referred to as ‘flesh-eating disease”, necrotizing fasciitis is a rare, but known complication of the childhood disease, chicken pox. If left untreated, patients can face widespread tissue damage and reconstructive surgery.

 

BRCA

An abbreviation of “BReast CAncer gene”, both BCRA1 and BCRA2 have been linked to breast cancer. Everyone is born with both genes, which normally help prevent breast cancer from forming (and are called tumour-suppressor genes). Sometimes, though, the genes don’t function properly, and the conditions for developing breast cancer can be developed.

Learn more from the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

 
Meghann Shantz, The Host of Well Now
Contributor
Meghann Shantz
The Host of Well Now

Managing Editor at Saje Natural Wellness, Meghann Shantz brings her personal story of healing and a love of storytelling to Well Now – a podcast born out of a desire to help us all discover the hidden side of health and how to achieve wellness. She draws from her experiences navigating western and alternative medicine to heal her anxiety and physical injury to connect with guests about their own stories of overcoming physical and emotional challenges.

Naturally curious and on a quest for meaning, Meghann holds space for the raw expression and authentic stories of her podcast guests, believing that our world would be better if we chose to honour other people’s journeys and processes without judgement – and believing in the power of telling your story.