Episode 16 The Choices We Weren’t Given

May 29, 2024 by
Ebtihal Taha

Two years ago, a car accident necessitated an emergency surgical procedure for my son. The head surgeon at the IMC, one of Egypt's most advanced and well equipped hospitals, quickly recommended a specific course of action. When I inquired about alternative treatments, he initially insisted there were none. Armed with prior knowledge, I challenged this assertion, only to be met with reluctance to discuss other viable options. This confrontation significantly eroded my trust in his judgment.

Healthcare professionals are expected to uphold transparency and engage patients in their treatment plans. However, the surgeon’s “God complex” and his dismissive attitude towards alternative options starkly contrasted with these standards. His approach not only undermined the patient-doctor relationship but also emphasized a broader issue within healthcare: the lack of genuine patient engagement.

Best Practices for Medical Professionals

The ideal approach would have involved:

  • Transparency: Clearly presenting all treatment options available, along with their respective advantages and disadvantages.
  • Patient Engagement: Actively involving us in the decision-making process to ensure that the chosen option was the best fit for our specific situation.
  • Communication Skills: Using empathetic communication to help us understand the severity of the situation and the rationale behind each potential treatment.
  • Respect for Patient Autonomy: Acknowledging our concerns and questions with detailed responses, fostering a supportive and informative atmosphere.

Ultimately, we transferred to ElHayat Hospital, where a previously unmentioned third option was offered and successfully performed. This experience not only changed the course of my son’s medical care but also starkly highlighted the need for systemic changes in how patient care is approached.

The takeaway from this ordeal is clear: healthcare providers must prioritize patient engagement and transparency to foster trust and deliver quality care. It's not merely about medical outcomes but about respecting patients as partners in their health journey.

Invitation for Feedback

I invite you to share your experiences with healthcare CX. How can medical professionals better facilitate patient involvement and trust? Let’s discuss ways to elevate the standard of patient care together.

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