I was being prepped for surgery last week and my surgeon, Dr. Davies, came in to discuss the procedure. He explained to me that he had reviewed my file several times and decided that he would prefer to perform a less invasive surgery which would result in less recovery time. He said the positives outweighed the negatives. I was thrilled that he had taken so much time to thoughtfully consider my specific needs.
He asked my permission and told me his recommendations, but ultimately he said it was my decision. I had been pondering over the same option during the previous week as well.
Our conversation opened up the opportunity for me to ask him if he was familiar with the Society of Participatory Medicine. I told him about the organization and he quickly made notes of how he could learn more.
I had told him about e-Patient Dave and his experience with Stage 4 cancer. Dave was able to work alongside his physicians and ultimately beat the cancer. At that point, my surgeon told me about a relative who had given up on traditional medicine after being told that he was dying and was out of medical options. He was cured by non-traditional medicine practices.
My surgeon then told me that the phrase he least likes to hear from his patients is, “You are the doctor, you decide.” He firmly believes that medicine is most effective when patients and doctors work beside each other; the same stance held by the Society of Participatory Medicine.
After much discussion, I decided to have the less invasive surgery. Going in, I believed my doctor was a competent surgeon, but after my discussion with him, he increased my faith in his abilities ten-fold. Doctors should be appreciative, not be intimidated by a patient who wants to be involved in their own care. By the way, the surgery went well and I should be back to work shortly.