Empathy in Patient-Centered Medicine

David Mendosa Health Guide September 25, 2012
  • When I moved to Colorado in 2004, one of my problems was finding a whole new set of doctors. In addition to a primary care physician, I had to find an ophthalmologist, a dermatologist, a podiatrist, a chiropractor, a dentist, and other specialists for passing problems. I didn’t even try to find...

4 Comments
  • DaSein
    Sep. 27, 2012

    Excellent that doctors are increasingly aware of the importance of empathy and patient-doctor understanding and interpersonal skills. I now drive 4 hours every 3 months to see my endo in Milwaukee in large part because she's an excellent doctor and researcher, but also because I like her, she and the CDE/pump nurse get it, and treat me as a person. Sounds like...

    RHMLucky777

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    Excellent that doctors are increasingly aware of the importance of empathy and patient-doctor understanding and interpersonal skills. I now drive 4 hours every 3 months to see my endo in Milwaukee in large part because she's an excellent doctor and researcher, but also because I like her, she and the CDE/pump nurse get it, and treat me as a person. Sounds like a no-brainer, but it's not. The pump nurse is the 1st person I've had on my team who actually has t1 and is on a pump, and I gotta say, that makes a huge difference because her empathy and understanding comes naturally from her own experiences, likely good and bad, with docs and the disease. And the endo has heart and also relates to my experiences as a woman of child-bearing age with a chronic, tricky disease--also important in my book.

     

    Sadly, the best endo I ever had no longer sees patients and is on the research side of things, in large part because she never had enough time to spend with her patients and she was such a fierce advocate and refused to drop the ball or sell her patients short that she had the staff and herself in full burn-out mode after a while because there just wasn't time to spend with patients like there should be. It's truly a shame and a big problem nowadays. Still, I can't imagine a doc saying to me "Well, your 14 minutes is up, sorry."

     

    Great article; thanks for sharing! And so glad you're out there as a diabetes patient advocate working on these panels and with these folks. We're lucky to have you--and so are they!

    • David Mendosa
      Health Guide
      Sep. 27, 2012

      Dear DaSein,

       

      What a great message. I am glad for you that you have been able to find such an empathetic medical team. Thanks for sharing your experience.

       

      Best regards,

       

      David

  • RobertIA
    Sep. 25, 2012

    Until the study was published, I was somewhat satisfied with the doctors I was seeing.  Now I can only say that the Endocrinology department has any respect.  That may disappear if they keep insisting that I allow my A1c to increase.  I know that hypoglycemia is a concern since I am on insulin and in the elderly classification, but the decision...

    RHMLucky777

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    Until the study was published, I was somewhat satisfied with the doctors I was seeing.  Now I can only say that the Endocrinology department has any respect.  That may disappear if they keep insisting that I allow my A1c to increase.  I know that hypoglycemia is a concern since I am on insulin and in the elderly classification, but the decision is still mine to make.  I would be more concerned if I did not have the warning symptoms of hypoglycemia.  I still have the warning symptome below 70 mg/dl and can still count on 8 fingers the times I have been below 60 mg/dl in nine years. 

     

    Part of the problem of doctors not having empathy stems from the fact that they work for the hospital and have less time per appointment to allow communications with the patient. 

     

    Thanks for this blog!

    • David Mendosa
      Health Guide
      Sep. 25, 2012

      Dear Bob,

       

      You got that right. I mentioned to the doctors in the panel that one of my doctors a few years ago had cut me off, saying "Your 14 minutes is up." The doctor in the panel said, that at least in his practice, the time was now down to 8 minutes.

       

      David