Don’t give up on your patients, some will absolutely amaze you

A bit of a rambling post on patients with chronic diseases, and the role of doctors in encouraging them to try lifestyle changes as a means to manage their disease, and how doctors can become overly negative about their patients

The best insight:  ‘our behaviours aren’t changed by data, they’re changed by emotion’ (apart from quantified sellers – the data obsessed). The challenge for doctors – and all of us – is to engage at the emotional level, rather than the dry technical level, where most of us are more comfortable.

For me, in the decision-making following my relapse, the emotional – wishing to be with my family for longer – was the driver, as I expect it is for many in comparable situations. One of my doctors was particularly good in this and helped me get it, by putting it in stark terms – ‘if we do nothing, you will not make it past next summer’, that sharpened the point considerably.

But we are the extreme cases, where the life or death choices are more immediate and thus, ironically, easier to face than longer-term, more amorphous risks.

Don’t give up on your patients, some will absolutely amaze you.

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