So today, I went to see the patient I referred to in my previous blog post. She, miraculously, believes I saved her life. Apparently my surgeon has been pouring honey into her ear about me all week. Oh well, I'll take what I can get. It is nice to be appreciated occasionally.....
Anyhow, I suggest to her that she be investigated for a coagulation problem. Once we are both on the same page, ie. that coagulation refers to blood clotting, she pipes up, "Oh, but this has happened to me before. When I had teeth out as a teenager, I bled so much they had to give me blood..."
At this point, I started looking around for the ton of bricks I was about to get hit with.. Reason being, you see, I asked her last week if she had any blood clotting problems. She denied this. I guess I didn't phrase the question in the right terms. If you only have a short time with a patient, you simply cannot get all the information and double check every answer. So I'm left with two conclusions. Firstly, what is important to me in a consultation may not be important to the patient. Secondly, I need to get better at communicating how important things are, so I get better information.... Communication skills are not well taught at medical schools.. This is something I will take into my teaching. I simply have to figure out how.
1 week ago