Tag Archives: book

"I have a dream" by Martin Luther King, Jr.

King, Obama, and Healthcare

 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 

The  United States observes the third Monday of January as a federal holiday in honor and memory of the birthday of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929)

The Reverend Dr. King led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968.

First African-American President- Barack Obama

In 2008 Democratic candidate Barack Obama ran for President of the United States and won, becoming the 44th President  and the first African-American to win the office.

Former President Obama running with his dog

President Obama kept fit exercising with his dog- photo compliments Pixabay 

 

Candidate Obama  pledged to enact universal health care coverage for the country, a promise President Obama fulfilled with the support of a Democratic Congress. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often shortened to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or nicknamed Obamacare, is a United States federal statute enacted by the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010.

 

 

First Universal Healthcare Coverage -“Obamacare”

The term “Obamacare” was first used by opponents, then embraced by supporters, and eventually used by President Obama himself. Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 amendment, it represents the U.S. healthcare system‘s most significant overhaul and expansion of coverage since  Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. (source Wikipedia) 

 

Is ObamaCare doomed?

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign platform included health care reform, a plan he labeled “repeal and replace” for Obamacare. Thus far, as of January 2018 , President Trump has not convinced Congress to abandon Obamacare, but it will change under the recently passed tax law which has abolished the individual mandate  requiring all persons to either buy health insurance or pay a penalty. Premiums are predicted to increase significantly, making it more difficult for people to afford coverage.

 

 African-American Health- Progress Made, More Needed

 

The death rate for African Americans dropped 25% from 1999-2015, but they are still more likely to die at a young age than white Americans.

African Americans in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are more likely to live with or die from conditions that typically occur at older ages in whites, including

  • heart disease,
  • stroke, and
  • diabetes.

African Americans ages 35-64 are 50 percent more likely to have high blood pressure as whites.

African Americans ages 18 to 49 years are 2 times as likely to die from heart disease as whites.

Social and economic conditions, such as poverty, contribute to the gap in health differences between African Americans and whites.

 

Public health agencies and community organizations should work with other community resources , including

  • education,
  • business,
  • transportation, and
  • housing,

to create social and economic conditions that promote health at early ages.

Consumers can prevent disease and early death by

 

Dr. Ben Carson- “Gifted Hands”

Ben Carson, M.D., renowned neurosurgeon, also ran for President in 2016 , leaving the campaign during the Republican primary.

 

President Trump appointed him to his Cabinet where he serves as the 17th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

 

 

 

Will you share this post on your social media pages?

This blog receives support from your use of the affiliate links in this post , other affiliates, and  visiting the advertisers. Profits will also support various health and relief related  organizations.

I invite you to  follow Watercress Words for more information and inspiration to help you explore the HEART of HEALTH.

Thanks for your time and interest.  Dr. Aletha 

 

Advertisements
man with hands folded in prayer

Remembering Dr. King’s dream

Isaiah 40:4-5, NIV

Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. quoted this scripture passage in his famous speech at the “March on Washington” in 1963.

 

"I have a dream"

Plaque honoring “I have a dream” speech by Dr. King

 

On the third Monday of January, the United States observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as an official federal holiday.

The Reverend Dr. King led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968. His famous “I have a dream” speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. is  remembered, read, and recited by people all over the country on the anniversary of his birth each year.

 

nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding, quote Martin Luther King

graphic with King quote compliments of Lightstock.com, affiliate link

 

 

 

Learn more about Dr. King and listen to part of his famous speech at  Biography.com

Read the full text of  “I Have A Dream” .

 

The following book suggestions lead to affiliate links which may pay a commission to this blog at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please share this post and follow this blog  for more –

Weekend Words of  faith, hope, and love

Dr. Aletha 

FAITH LOVE HOPE- words created with letter tiles

These three remain, faith, hope and love, and greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

album covers from music by Carole King

Beautiful- remembering the music of Carole King

“You’ve got to get up every morning

With a smile on your face

And show the world all the love in your heart

Then people gonna treat you better

You’re gonna find, yes you will

That you’re beautiful as you feel.”

Beautiful, by Carole King

 

My husband and I enjoyed a date night at the theater watching Beautiful- The Carole King Musical. The play covers the start of Ms. King’s career as a songwriter, including meeting and marrying her songwriting partner Gerry Goffin.

husband-wife couple holding hands in front of poster for Beautiful The Carole King Musical

My husband and I at the theater for Beautiful The Carole King Musical

Together they wrote some of the most successful and memorable songs of the 1960s-1970s including

 

I Feel the Earth Move 

Will you Love Me Tomorrow?

Up On The Roof 

You’ve Got a Friend 

 

Sadly, their marriage was not as successful as their careers due to his infidelity and mental instability which culminated in hospitalization and divorce.

As I watched and heard the story portrayed on the stage  I remembered her memoir which I read and reviewed here. The memoir included this part of her life as well as subsequent years, which often were as turbulent as the ones in the musical.

Here is my review of her memoir –

A Natural Woman: A Memoir

Although Carole King did not write A Natural Womanfor herself (she and her first husband were asked to write it for Aretha Franklin), the song aptly fits her life also.

She grew up in a close Jewish family, attended school where she excelled in performing arts and graduated early. She married young and  loved her husbands (four of them) passionately. She doted on her four children and did all the typical mom things- driving them to activities, homeschooling, sewing their clothes. She cooked food that she grew herself and even milked a goat she owned. She welcomed grandchildren and cared for aging parents.

She could almost be any 70 year old woman- except she is a Grammy award winning singer/songwriter who has written over 100 songs, including many of the greatest hits from the 1970s. In 2013 she became the first woman to be awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

inserts from our Carole King music CD collection

inserts from our Carole King music CD collection

 

Ms. King was at the height of her career in 1972 when my husband and I met, and found a mutual appreciation for her music, and still do. So, even though I don’t read memoirs of celebrities, I made an exception this time. I wanted to know more about this talented woman, and I was not disappointed.

As  I listened to the book’s audio version, read by the author,  I marvelled at  how she managed to live such a normal and successful life while experiencing a series of traumatic experiences starting in childhood. These included

  • a sibling with physical and developmental disabilities
  • the dissolution of her parents’ marriage
  • financial instability in her early career
  • the breakdown of her four marriages
  • an extended civil lawsuit
  • accidents resulting in serious physical injury
  • exposure to mental illness and substance abuse

 

The last issue led to two of her divorces, one of which followed several years of verbal and physical abuse .  She candidly admits that she submitted to it,  thinking that  she deserved it, he didn’t mean to hurt her, and that he would change.

Fortunately, one night she  woke up with the conviction that she needed help. Counselling helped her develop personal resources to resist and stop the abuse. She urges women in similar circumstances to seek help and recommends

 The National Domestic Violence Hotline | 24/7 Confidential Support.

 

I am sad that she  experienced such pain in her life, all the while brightening other lives with her music. She said that music helped her cope with the challenges in her life.

Her life reminds us that people who appear successful and accomplished in some areas of life, may be unhappy and hurting in others. We may never know the pain that some have walked through to get where they are.

Carole King insists  she never wanted to be a star or diva, and she zealously guarded her privacy. According to this book, she valued most her family, relationships, writing songs and sharing her music. I am glad she  decided to share this side of her life and the lessons it teaches .  Thank you Carole King.    It's some kind of wonderful! Beautiful The Carole King Musical- poster on window at theater

Here is a selection of Carole King’s music

(these are affiliate links)

Tapestry  Carole King’s first and most successful album

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical  the story of Carole’s life and career

Live at the Troubadour Carole King singing with her friend James Taylor

The Carnegie Hall Concert (Live) June 1971 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will you share this post on your social media pages?

And please follow Watercress Words for more information and inspiration to help you explore the HEART of HEALTH.

Thanks for your time and interest .

Sincerely, Dr. Aletha 

a middle aged woman and a young woman together

Effective solutions if you experience hair loss

 

My Sister’s Keeper- a novel

I recently enjoyed reading a novel  by Jodi Picoult My Sister’s Keeper ,which touched on  several medical themes including cancer, genetic engineering, organ donation ethics,  and medical autonomy.

IMG_2336.jpg

The story is about Kate, an adolescent who as a toddler developed a rare form of leukemia, and has spent the majority of her life either in the hospital getting treatment or recovering from them. After yet another chemotherapy regimen, she has lost her hair.

One day her mother, Sara, offers to take Kate and her younger sister Anna to the mall for a day out. Kate refuses.

“Don’t say it. Don’t tell me that nobody’s going to stare at me, because they will. Don’t tell me it doesn’t matter because it does. And don’t tell me I look fine because that’s a lie.” Her eyes, lash-bare, fill with tears. “I’m a freak, Mom. Look at me.”

Sara looks at her and says, “Well, we can fix this.”

“She walks out of the room followed by Kate and Anna. She finds a pair of ancient electric grooming clippers, plugs them in, and cuts a swath right down the middle of her own scalp.

“Mom”, Kate gasps.

With another swipe of the razor, Kate starts to smile. She points out a spot Sara missed. Anna crawls onto Sara’s lap. “Me next,” she begs.”

As Sara later remembers:

“An hour later, we walk through the mall holding hands, a trio of bald girls. We stay for hours. Everywhere we go, heads turn and voices whisper. We are beautiful, times three.”

IMG_2337.jpg

photo of book cover by Dr. Aletha

 

Alopecia- hair loss

You’ve known people who lost their hair due to cancer chemotherapy-you may even be that person. The medical term is anagen effluvium, which means hair loss during the anagen, or active phase of hair growth. 65% of people who receive chemotherapy will lose their hair.

Fortunately, anagen effluvium is reversible; the hair usually grows back in 1-6 months. While waiting, sometimes women wear wigs, while others wear colorful scarves and turbans on their heads. And some simply do as  Kate, her mother and sister did- show their heads proudly.

 

Stress and hair loss

Telogen effluvium is similar, except this hair loss occurs during the telogen or resting phase. It is not a myth that stress can cause hair loss. Any type of physical, mental, or emotional stress can cause hair to fall out. Probably the most common stress that precipitates this is pregnancy. Others include

  • surgery,
  • serious illness,
  • disorders of the thyroid, kidneys, or liver,
  • iron or zinc deficiency.

This hair loss is also reversible with the hair usually growing back within 2-6 months after the condition resolves or is treated.

a middle aged woman and a young woman together

Hair loss can occur at any age and with any type of hair. (Lightstock)

 

Genes and gender

The most common type of hair loss in both men and women is considered a “normal physiologic variant”- that being androgenetic alopecia. It tends to run in families, hence the “genetic” connotation. As many as 50% of men and 30%-40% of women may experience hair loss with increasing age.

There are two forms. (click on the links to see an illustration.)

Male pattern hair loss– affects the temples, front, and top of the scalp

Female pattern hair loss– causes diffuse thinning on the top and sides of the scalp

 

Two treatments are approved by the FDA.

Minoxidil- a topical solution applied daily to the scalp, causing increased hair growth within 6-12 months, and is used indefinitely. This is effective for both men and women.

Finasteride is a pill approved for use in men only, if minoxidil does not work. It can have undesirable side effects which limit its use.

Another option for both men and women are hair transplants.

5 people young men and women with arms overlapping their shoulders

Hair loss can happen to men and women,; men may start losing hair as young as 30 years old. (Lightstock)

 

Less common causes of hair loss

Alopecia areata is believed to be an autoimmune disorder. It may resolve spontaneously, or there are several medical therapies that can help. Application of lavender may be helpful.

Trichotillomania results from repeatedly pulling, twisting, or twirling the hair. Treatment is difficult.

Trichorrhexis nodosa results from trauma to the hair, including excessive brushing, tight hairstyles, and use of heat and chemical products on the hair.

What to do if you are losing hair

If you experience unexplained hair loss, see your doctor for an evaluation. It’s best not to assume that it is just a hair issue.

It is especially important to determine if there is some underlying condition, such as a thyroid disorder, that needs treatment.

Consider your family history. Have your grandparents, parents, or siblings experienced hair loss?

Evaluate your lifestyle to see if there are nutritional, traumatic, or stress factors that may contribute to hair loss. Remember, these may have happened as long as 6 months ago.

a smiling woman working on a laptop computer

Tightly braiding hair can lead to damage if done often enough. (Lightstock)

 

Consider the way you care for, style, and wear your hair; do these traumatize your hair frequently or excessively?

 

 

 

 

Arbonne carries  hair care products  that  help keep our hair healthy and attractive.

 

FC5– everyday basic care for all hair types

 

 

 

 

Pure Vibrance- especially for hair that has been colored but any hair type will benefit

 

 

 

 

 

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult was also made into a major motion picture starring Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, and Joan Cusack.  my sister's keeper- DVD

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lightstock  photos at this affiliate link 

Cheesy free faith-focused stock photos

Remembering 9/11 in literature

Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies,

and The Making of a Medical Examiner,

by Judy Melinek, M.D.and T.J. Mitchell

Working Stiff, a book

The author, Judy Melinek, M.D., wrote this  account of her training as a forensic pathologist, a physician specialist who investigates sudden, unexpected or violent deaths. Her husband, T.J. Mitchell co-authored.

When she applied for a position in New York City at the NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), Dr. Judy Melinek never imagined that decision would plunge her into the nightmare of September 11, 2001. She was at the ME office that day when the Twin Towers were attacked and fell, killing thousands of people.

The main job of a medical examiner is to investigate death by examining a corpse- an autopsy. They look for evidence of cause of death, was it due to disease or trauma, and time of death, was it recent or remote. They hunt for signs that the death was self or other inflicted. Sometimes they may even need to establish the identity of the corpse.

Such was the case after September 11. She and the other staff collaborated with the team of investigators who worked night and day identifying remains of the victims, a task she vividly describes in the book. This was basically their only job, since the cause of death was for the most part irrelevant, and impossible to determine. Sometimes they had only a small body part, as little as a finger, to extract DNA to identity a victim. Such identification was critical to bring closure to the families who lost loved ones, people who left for work that day, and never came home.

Dr. Melinek describes not only the science of what she was doing, but also the emotion behind it; how she and the other medical examiners and staff felt about their work. She describes how it affected her relationship with her husband and young son, the problem of explaining to him what she was seeing and experiencing on a daily basis. She didn’t have the heart to tell him how many trailers full of partial bodies there were, after he saw just one and was shocked.

She also discusses other cases she worked on.  As a forensic pathologist, Dr. Melinek  understands why and how people die, and therefore also knows how people can avoid dying unexpectedly. Pathologists tend to be blunt, straightforward and to the point, as when she writes,

  • “So don’t jaywalk.
  • Wear your seat belt when you drive.
  • Better yet, stay out of your car and get some exercise.
  • Watch your weight.
  • If you’re a smoker, stop right now. If your aren’t, don’t start.
  • Guns put holes in people. Drugs are bad.
  • You know that yellow line on the subway platform? It’s there for a reason.
  • Staying alive, as it turns out, is mostly common sense.” 

Working Stiff moves at a quick pace, in a conversational style. When she uses medical jargon, she explains it in simple terms. She describes the cases she investigated in detail so those with weak stomachs (no pun) may want to skip this read.

Having experienced her father’s unexpected death when she was 13 years old, she was no stranger to it, and she learned more from the 262 autopsies she did during her training. As she says in this engaging memoir,

To confront death every day, to see it for yourself, you have to love the living.” 

Dr. Melinek also blogs at Forensic Pathology Forum 

The Statue of Liberty

Other authors have written about the medical consequences of the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 in these books and articles.

City of Dust: Illness, Arrogance, and 9/11

mounted police officer

a New York City police officer and his horse represent the city proudly

by Anthony DePalma

“In City of Dust, Anthony DePalma offers the first full accounting of one of the gravest environmental catastrophes in United States history.

The destruction on 9/11 of two of the world’s largest buildings unleashed a vortex of dust and ash that blotted out the sun and has distorted science, medicine and public policy ever since. The likely dangers of 9/11’s massive dust cloud were evident from the beginning, yet thousands chose not to see. Why? As the sickening results of exposure became evident, many still refused to recognize them. Why? The consequences are still being tallied in the wasted bodies and disrupted lives of thousands who gave their all when the need was greatest, but whose demands for justice have been consumed by years of politics and courtroom maneuvers.

Separating reality from myth – and doing so with exceptional literary style and grace, DePalma covered Ground Zero for The New York Times for four years. DePalma introduces heroic firefighters, dedicated doctors and scientists, obsessive city officials, partisan politicians, aggressive lawyers, and compassionate judges and reveals the individual decisions that destroyed public trust, and the desperate attempts made to rebuild it.

The dust that was the World Trade Center has changed everything it touched. This is the story of that dust, the 9/11 disaster after the disaster, and what it tells us about ourselves and our future.”

(Amazon review)

Project Rebirth: Survival and the Strength of the Human Spirit from 9/11 Survivors

by Dr. Robin Stern and Courtney E. Martin

“Written in conjunction with the documentary Rebirth, a full decade in the making, an uplifting look at the lives of nine individuals whose lives were forever changed by the largest tragedy our nation has ever faced. 

In Project Rebirth, a psychologist and a journalist examine the lives of nine people who were directly affected by the events of September 11, 2001. Written concurrently with the filming of the documentary, it is uniquely positioned to tackle the questions raised about how people react in the face of crippling grief, how you maintain hope for a future when your life as you knew it is destroyed, and the amazing ability of humans to focus on the positive aspects of day-to-day living in the face of tragedy.”

(Amazon review)

NYFD engine

honoring the brave NYFD firefighters who rescued survivors and those who lost their lives doing so

At Morgue, Ceaselessly Sifting 9/11 Traces

“Outside the chalk-white tent, the whistle of traffic along the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive signals the forward movement of a city. But inside, 16 refrigerated trailers hum in a ceaseless chorus, giving voice to the dead whose remains are contained in their hold.

The trailers hummed as time separated the city from the 11th of September: as the smoking mountain of what had been the World Trade Center became a yawning hole; as 1.6 million tons of debris were sifted through on a Staten Island landfill; as commemorative services caused heads to bow. They hummed and they continue to hum, a mantra-like reminder that talk of closure is premature.” (excerpt from newspaper article)

Public health and medical disaster responses: The untold story of 9/11

By Kelly B. Close, MD

former National Coordinator of Disaster Volunteers for the American Red Cross

“You never know when your life is going to change.

My red business suit was almost buttoned, and I was rehearsing my presentation for the Milford, Connecticut Red Cross board of directors, even though my mind kept wandering to my wedding just nine days earlier in Walt Disney World. An urgent call from my new husband to come to the television interrupted my wedding day dreams.

As soon as I saw the images of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, I knew that my plans for the day – maybe even my life – had changed.” (excerpt from article at ems1.com)

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4

 

 

 

Triumph Over Terror

by Bob Ossler with Janice Hall Heck

“What do Ossler’s insights reveal about finding meaning and purpose in the thick of chaos and personal tragedy?

Chaplain Ossler chronicles the best of humanity—acts of courage and goodness in the midst of unimaginable devastation. As terrorist attacks continue to assault humanity, Triumph Over Terror reveals how your spirit can triumph over terror’s reign, and how you can help others suffering from trauma and loss.”(Amazon review)

(This blog post contains several affiliate links, a commission is paid if used to make purchase. Thank you.)

One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center, photo taken 8/16/2013

Happy Mother's Day

“mothers,be glad” – Weekend Words

Proverbs 23, ESV

 

22  Listen to your father who gave you life,

and do not despise your mother when she is old.

23  Buy truth, and do not sell it;

buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

24  The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;

he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.

25  Let your father and mother be glad;

let her who bore you rejoice.

 

St. Augustine quote

graphic from Lightstock

 

St Augustine of Hippo  ( from Numida, North Africa) is the most important convert to Christianity, next to St. Paul. His mother Monica was a  devout Christian while  his father was a pagan. Monica raised Augustine as a Christian but he did not accept Christian belief or baptism.

He was educated in philosophy and rhetoric at Carthage  and taught in Rome. There he converted to Christianity, was baptized, and eventually became a priest and bishop. He wrote prolifically, much of which we still have available today, including Confessions and The City of God. (source- Spiritual Classics)

 

Thank you for visiting the resource links, affiliate links , and advertisers in this post.

Please come back next weekend for another proverb of wisdom; and share with your friends on social media.

The word "Read" written in black paint on a colorful watercolor washed background.

What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear- a book review

What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear

by Danielle Ofri, M.D. , an associate professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine and staff physician at New York’s Bellevue Hospital .  The book is published by Beacon Press

“What patients say and what doctors hear can be two very dissimilar things. The reverse is also quite true: what doctors say and what patients hear can be radically different.”

“For all of the sophisticated diagnostic tools of modern medicine, the conversation between doctor and patient remains the primary diagnostic tool. Even in fields that are visual (dermatology) or procedural(surgery), the patient’s verbal description of the problem and the doctor’s questions about it are critical to an accurate diagnosis.”

What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear- a book cover

written by Danielle Ofri, M.D.

I am so convinced of the truth of these two statements, that I have written several blog posts about physician-patient communication. So when I learned of a book that delves into this subject in detail, I knew I needed to read it; I was not disappointed.

As a physician, this was not an easy book to read; Dr. Ofri does not hesitate to tell us physicians what we need to do better in our communication with our patients.

But she also makes it plain to patients that you have a role and a vested stake in communicating your concerns, questions, and even grievances to the physicians who care for you; that without such information, your physicians cannot provide optimal diagnosis and treatment for you.

doctor talking to a woman

photo compliments American Academy of Family Physicians

Dr. Ofri bases her conclusions on her own encounters with patients over 20+ years of practice, interviews with other doctors and patients, and published research on communication. In her book she explains

  • How the uniqueness and complexity of the physician-patient relationship impacts their communication
  • Why patients’ less satisfactory encounters with the medical system are often due to poor communication, rather than lack of caring and competence, but can lead to lawsuits
  • Why patients’ unfamiliarity of medical terms can hinder communication , and how differences in use of words between doctors and patients, and even between doctors can lead to misunderstanding

For example, Dr. Ofri relates an incident when she was still a medical student working in the hospital and came across the term “expired” to refer to a patient who had died. She had never heard the word used this way. Then years later, when she was an attending physician, she was confused when an intern from a southern state reported to her that a patient had passed during the previous night. Passed what?, she thought. In some areas of our country,  “passed” is commonly used to mean someone has died, but Dr. Ofri had never heard this.

woman-sitting-in-front-of-a-tree-in-a-cemetery-grieving

photo from Lightstock.com, affiliate link

Dr. Ofri discusses the placebo effect of medicines and treatments, and how expectations affect response to treatment. (The placebo effect means responding to  a treatment that contains no active medical substance.  Interestingly, placebo treatments “work”.)

She details the many reasons patients have difficulty adhering to doctors’ recommended treatment plans, such as cost, inconvenience, distance, and other factors unrelated to not understanding the seriousness of their condition, as one might suppose.

I was intrigued by the story of a hospital in The Netherlands which hired a woman to be the “Chief Listening Officer.” Her only duty was to listen to patients talk about their complaints or grievances  about their care, not to fix or solve problems, but just to listen. And it was successful; once patients felt they had been heard, they had no desire to pursue legal action and felt more satisfied with their care.

She also relates a program called Sorry Works!, a way to handle medical errors with mediation rather than lawsuits, also a successful program.

Dr. Aletha talking to a mother and her son

Talking to a patient through an interpreter makes communication extra challenging. (photo from a volunteer medical trip to Ecuador)

What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear  helps  patients understand the complexity of what physicians do in our encounters with patients and how that impacts our subsequent decision making and treatment decisions.

This book illustrates there are multiple detailed steps between

  • A patient’s problem and the best solution
  • The patient’s and family’s questions and the correct answers
  • The final (or sometimes current) diagnosis and the definitive,  best available ,or least toxic treatment.

“The biggest take-home message…is that both doctors and patients need to give communication its just due. Rather than ..the utilitarian humdrum of a visit, the conversation should be viewed as the single most important tool of medical care…a highly sophisticated technology.

The mere act of both parties taking this conversation more seriously will enhance communication and improve medical care. …effective communication needn’t take a long time, it just needs full and intense focus…and can yield an abundance of information.”

In this previous blog post I offer suggestions on physician-patient communication based on my years in practice:

Do you know the best questions to ask about your healthcare?

You know it’s important to tell us details of your symptoms, medical history, family history, habits, and other medical facts.   But besides medical information about you , we need to know

Your expectations about your care,

Your concerns about your care,

Your obstacles to getting care,

 Listen to Dr. Ofri talk about communication

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FDanielleOfriMD%2Fvideos%2F10155696091439469%2F&show_text=0&width=560