Tips From a Doctor: Opening Up in MS Appointments
- by Dr. Pardo
- January 08, 2018
Dr. Pardo is a paid spokesperson for Teva Neuroscience, Inc.
It’s important to open up and be honest in your appointments. As an MS neurologist, I rely on facts to come to conclusions and offer recommendations that are in the best interest of my patients. I gather those facts in different ways:
- I examine patients thoroughly and record my findings.
- I carefully review the results of performed blood tests.
- I study the images of MRIs and compare my interpretation with that of the radiologist.
- I critically interpret clinical trials and scientific studies to make sure they are rigorous and can be applied in practice.
- I ask my patients questions.
That last part–asking questions and having a dialogue during the patient’s visit–is of utmost importance. So much so that I wrote a blog post providing tips to help those with multiple sclerosis get the most out of their neurologist appointments. The things you discuss in your appointments guide everything and have to be based on absolute trust. That trust goes both ways, but if it does not exist or is misguided, the only one who can have health-related consequences is you, the patient. Allow me to give you some examples:
- Ms X goes to her doctor and discusses a new problem. Her physician understands and knows what needs to be done, so they agree on a care plan. Ms X returns for a follow-up visit, but is embarrassed to admit she didn’t take the medication because she doesn’t want her doctor to know. After all, he was so nice and spent so much time addressing this one issue. The problem is still there, so the conclusion the doctor makes is that the first approach didn’t work, therefore they need to move on to a different care plan. This is neither good nor necessary.
- In another case, Mr. Z is taking his medication as prescribed and wants to continue to take it because he likes it. He experiences a worsening of symptoms, but fails to contact his doctor and doesn’t bring it up at all when he sees her at his next visit. The doctor is led to believe that all is well, when in reality, Mr. Z should have talked about all of his symptoms. Discussing all symptoms would have helped his doctor and Mr. Z decide whether or not a new care plan was needed.
Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. Give it to me as it is. I don’t judge. I don’t admonish. I don’t punish. Those are not my functions. My role and commitment to you is to give you my best advice to help you better manage your MS. And to be able to do that, I need facts. Real facts.
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Dr. Gabriel Pardo, MD
About The Author
Dr. Pardo, MD is a board-certified neurologist. He received his medical degree from Nueva Granada Military University and has been in practice for over 20 years.
COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection) is a prescription medicine that is used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults.
Do not use COPAXONE® if you are allergic to glatiramer acetate or mannitol.