Marilyn Gardner, in her 2014 book called “Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging“) wrote about a compelling conversation she once had:
Yet our physicians aren’t trained to embrace our stories, but instead to ask right away, “What brings you here today?” to kick-start a brief Q&A that can most efficiently solve the diagnostic mystery sitting across from them. . . Continue reading ““The doctors want my symptoms but not my stories””
Many years before I finally left a decades-long professional relationship with my family physician, I had observed distressing changes in her practice. I didn’t say anything about these changes at first. They began with her new all-cash medical aesthetics clinic (think: nonstop before-and-after Botox videos looping in every exam room).
She did not post an actual sign in her waiting room telling her longtime patients what we all knew: “I Am No Longer Interested in the Practice of Family Medicine” – but everything about her behaviours clearly announced that she’d already moved on without telling us. . Continue reading “The medical hierarchy shift”
Our physicians are highly trained experts in providing medical care, but it’s their patients who have “skin in the game”. This odd phrase is believed to have originated in the financial sector to describe senior investment advisors who demonstrate their confidence in a company by putting their own money (their own “skin”) into the company in order to build investor confidence. So if stock prices fall, they stand to lose – just like their clients will. Advisors who choose not to do this may be every bit as smart, but they have no skin in the game. Continue reading “Skin in the game: taking women’s cardiac misdiagnosis seriously”
When a blockage or spasm in one or more of your coronary arteries stops allowing freshly oxygenated blood to feed your heart muscle, a heart attack can happen. The faster you can access emergency treatment to address that culprit artery, the better your chances of being appropriately diagnosed. The period of time between your first symptoms and actively getting the help you need can be divided into three phases:
- decision time – the period from the first onset of acute symptoms to the decision to seek care (for example, calling 911)
- transport time – the period from the decision to seek care to arrival at the Emergency Department
- therapy time – the period from arrival at the Emergency Department to the start of medical treatment
Only the first phase is the one you have complete control over. So don’t blow it. . .
When I interviewed Dr. Catherine Kreatsoulas* about the research paper she presented last month in Vancouver at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress(1), her previous heart study caught my attention, too.
I was surprised by her explanation from that earlier research on how some women describe their chest pain during a heart attack (2), as she told me: . .
Continue reading “Words matter when we describe our heart attack symptoms”