Cardiometabolic Chronicle

Patient Perspective – Denial? Or Doctorly Deference?

Recently, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) ran a compelling opinion piece1 from Boston physician Dr. Abraar Karan on why some patients just don’t seem to understand what their doctors are telling them. Here’s how he opens his essay:

“‘Why am I here?’ Mrs. S looked up at me for the first time since I had entered the room and begun speaking to her. I had spent the past five minutes talking about the need for her to start new medications for her heart failure. She had nodded along for most of the conversation, but I wondered if she had heard, or more importantly understood, anything I had been saying. She had had three admissions for worsening heart failure in the past few months. And yet she looked at me and said, ‘Do I have heart problems? No one ever told me!’”.

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REFERENCES:
  1. Karan, Abrar. “Making sure patients understand and that doctors do too.” The British Medical Journal Opinion, May 23, 2019. Available at https://blogs. bmj.com/bmj/2019/05/23/abraar-karan-makingsure-patients-understand-and-that-doctors-dotoo/, accessed August 1, 2019.
  2. Karan, Abraar, and Geeta Sodhi, eds. “Protecting the health of the poor: social movements in the south.” Zed Books Ltd., 2015.
  3. National Network Libraries of Medicine. “Health literacy – definition.” Available at https://nnlm.gov/ initiatives/topics/health-literacy, accessed August 1, 2019.
  4. Lin, Andrew H., et al. “Repeat hospitalizations predict mortality in patients with heart failure.” Military Medicine 182.9-10 (2017): e1932-e1937.
  5. O’Leary, Kevin J., et al. “Hospitalized patients’ understanding of their plan of care.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 85.1 (2010): 47-52.
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