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Having the wrong attitude

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Mr X: I just got back from England, so I came to let you know that everything was dealt with up there, and am going back in October to follow-up on my eyes.

Doctor: How nice Mr. X. Well, let’s take a look at the eyes and see how the surgery went.{{more}}

Mr. X: No Doc, I did not come for an eye exam, everything was looked after in England.

Doctor: But Mr. X, that was in June, now is August. Between June and October anything could go wrong. When we referred you with a letter, we expect a letter in return from your Doctor in England. This is because you live here. Did you bring a letter from the Doctor?

Mr. X: No, I did not request a letter.

Doctor: Mr. X, I realize that you do not feel you need a follow-up from us. However, please understand that if anything goes wrong, we cannot be held responsible for your eyes as we do not know what transpired.

Mr. X: (adamant!) No Doctor, I will make an appointment when I feel I need to see you.

Doctor: In that case I must inform you that I can no longer be your Doctor, because you are showing no signs of responsibility in the care of your own eye problems. You have a chronic disease and you need to be followed up regularly, especially after a surgical procedure. Please reconsider and we would be happy to continue monitoring the progress of your eyes. Is it the money?

Mr. X: No, Doctor.

Doctor: Because if it is, I can always refer you to an institution that would look after you for free or we can make payment arrangements.

Mr. X: No, Doctor. I will go to England first and call you back on my return.

Doctor: Unfortunately, when you get back we will not be able to continue looking after you, because you are showing no sign of responsibility to your eyes and thus your health. We could provide you with a list of alternative Doctors that you may wish to visit.

Fellow readers, I hope you do not fall into such a category of patient. The type of patient who has no trust for their local doctor and who does not feel he or she needs to see their doctor because they have gone “overseas”. Of course there are cases where the medical care may be superior to that of ours, but follow-up care, especially after surgery, is extremely important. I have seen far too many “well intentioned” patients eventually go blind, because they declined to see their local doctor after having surgery done overseas or here in SVG by a foreign doctor and are waiting to see them again in a few months or even a year. Glaucoma is an example. It is mandatory to follow up at least every 4 months, because the medication sometimes wears out. In the case of diabetes, if control is poor then there is the possibility of complications occurring. Such cases need to be followed up more frequently. The sad part is that when it is too late, the local doctor gets the blame for something he had nothing to do with.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us Send questions to: [email protected]

Tel: 784 456-1210

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