Growing up in a family of generational physicians has shaped my patient philosophy tremendously. I was raised watching and learning about patient care from a classic model fewer practitioners today recognize: the trusted family physician. He or she diagnosed us with an expertise that comes from knowing us as a whole person: our medical history, our family, our lives. We were so much more than just a set of symptoms and test results.
My years of medical training, teaching at hospitals like Johns Hopkins and extensive patient experience taught me how to control pain and restore function successfully. But it was my father and grandfather, both highly-respected physicians, and my mother – one of the wisest, most empathetic and intuitive individuals I have ever been blessed to know – who taught me the most valuable lessons about building rewarding patient relationships.
Those family lessons still guide my patient care philosophy today:
- Treat every patient as if they are family or friend: I will treat you with the same time, dedication and commitment I would invest on those closest to me. I will put your best health interests first.
- Never forget that a patient is a person: When you are sick or hurting, so are your loved ones. I must remember that they are worrying and suffering right along with you.
- Be patient-centric, not symptom-centric. You are far more than a specific injury or chronic condition: you are a complex individual with health, lifestyle, emotional and other factors that must be weighed carefully as part of diagnosis and treatment to gain optimal results.
- Know the standards – and when to deviate: Guidelines for treatment (including therapy, medications, procedures and pre/post-surgical care) are often standardized for the masses. I examine many factors beyond just your immediate injury or condition before making treatment recommendations. While a "by-the-numbers" approach is faster and more efficient for many practitioners, it rarely yields optimal results for you.
- Stay open minded: Having worked closely with surgeons, orthopedic specialists, rehabilitation specialists and alternative physicians, I know that lasting results frequently stem from a combination of methods. I wholeheartedly believe in the ability to listen carefully to each patient's desires and to keep an open mind in evaluating ideas and treatments.
When your daily comfort, functionality and quality of life are at stake, you shouldn't have to settle for a hasty diagnosis, a by-the-numbers treatment program or anything less than the full range of options.