Building Relationships with PatientsRecently Samantha wrote a wonderful post on my personal Facebook page. The words and photo gave me such joy and led me to reflect on what a wonderful job I have.

It is quite a unique job. As an obstetrician, I am supporting a woman and her husband/partner during one of the most important times of their lives. While childbirth is one of the most rewarding times in a woman’s life, it is well evidenced that childbirth is one of the most dangerous times in a woman’s life and in the life of her baby. Knowing that a patient puts her total trust and confidence in me is a responsibility that I do not take lightly. I use all my skill and experience to do everything I can to help her have a successful outcome. It is wonderful to be able to celebrate with the parents the birth of their new baby(ies).

On this very special pregnancy journey, I so often get to know my patients extremely well. The relationship with so many patients goes far beyond that sterile ‘white coat’ doctor-patient interaction and develops into strong bond and wonderful friendship that continues after the pregnancy has ended.

Building Friendships with PatientsSam was first referred to me for a gynaecology matter that I  dealt with successfully. I could see what a great person she was when we first met and so I was then delighted when, in due course, she returned to see me for pregnancy management. This pregnancy resulted in the successful delivery of Isobel. Sam then returned to see me for management of her next pregnancy. This pregnancy resulted in the successful delivery of Alexander. Sam and her husband Scott have been blessed with two wonderful children. It has given me such great joy to support them on these incredible journeys.

Over the five years I have known Sam, there has developed a strong bond of friendship. We have chatted about lots of non-medical matters, as I love to do with patients. I am always interested in what patients are interested in. You can learn so much from patients because of their varied backgrounds. Being an obstetrician has been an incredible education in life and people. Sam has shared with me about her successful corporate career, a world far removed from mine as a doctor. Absolutely fascinating! As well, we have laughed and joked about various matters over the years. To have had her as a patient has been entertaining, enjoyable and never dull. Thank you Sam!

It is very sad that I will not have the pleasure of looking after Sam for another pregnancy as Sam and Scott now feel their family is complete. But I am sure I will be seeing Sam again in the future.

I have also been blessed with so many other wonderful patients over the years. There have been so many ongoing beautiful relationships with them and their spouses.

In other areas of medicine, this strength of relationship is unlikely to occur. For instance, if someone has a broken bone it is unlikely that they will develop this strength of relationship with the orthopaedic surgeon who fixes the broken bone, or if they have appendicitis then with the general surgeon who removes the appendix. The most likely other doctor with whom someone may develop a strong relationship is the older style general practitioner.

I value my patients very much, I value the relationship I have with my patients, I try hard to provide the most caring and best quality of work I can, and I value the opportunities to form close bonds with my patients.

P.S. Photos provided by Samantha. The article was sent to Samantha for approval before posting.

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