What if Doctors Cared About Patients' Goals?

Okay, so this reader also happens to be my mother, but that doesn't make her words any less important.

Okay, so this reader also happens to be my mother, but that doesn't make her words any less important.

A reader of this blog, Darleen Zimmerman, shared an article with me from the Washington Post. It's the first person account of a doctor realizing that perhaps he should consider patients' goals when formulating their treatment plan. It seems like an obvious point, but to many doctors it isn't. Especially when the patient is a woman. You should read the whole piece; it's moving and enlightening, but I also wanted to share the words of my reader Darleen:

For women with chronic illnesses with limited treatments or no cure, it would be extremely respectful of our doctors to ask us about our goals and what we want addressed.  For instance, doctors keep focusing on my pain, but for me, the fatigue is so much worse.  At least honor my experience and major concern even if there is nothing that can help me.  Don't patronize me and brush me off because there is little that can be done. 

At minimum just let me know you care about my biggest concern and affirm that I truly want to be well or sincerely want to have some kind of quality of life.  Respect my knowledge about my body and ask me what I have found to be helpful and what questions I have regarding the care of my body.  My body is mine and I am the primary caretaker of my body, and understand that I seek assistance from a doctor to provide the best care for my body.  Respect the rights I have regarding my body and my care.  And also, do not treat me as a petulant child if I ask questions regarding the answers you might have.  And for God's sake, don't look at your clock after 5 minutes because you have another patient to get to.  The strong indication is that time is money and I've got to keep the money rolling in.

If you have read any articles that got you thinking, please click the "Share Your Story" link above and lay it on me. This blog isn't about me; it's about you.