I’ve just been attending a course run by the #britishfertilitysociety and the most important message from all that we discussed, was how important patient centred care is. Sometimes, especially as doctors, we get so carried away with the science and the overwhelming demands of our jobs, that we forget about how vulnerable our patients are, how scared and how overwhelmed they themselves can often feel by the whole process of trying to have a baby.
The single biggest factor revealed by the #hfea as impacting on how satisfied a patient is by their overall experience is not actually the outcome of their treatment, but how they were made to feel as an individual, as a human being, not a number, struggling to cope with all the many complex emotions fertility engenders, and the loss of control over their own bodies.
Recognising this and supporting our patients is important all of the time, but especially so when that patient may face the loss of their baby. To get so close to their dream, only to have it snatched from out of their grasp. This is the time when we must show up for our patients and handle the difficult discussions, offering as much guidance and support as possible. This is the time when our patients need us the most, though oftentimes it is also a very difficult and emotional time for a doctor who has become so inextricably linked to the process and who shares in your grief.
My next IGTV video that I’ve put out today tries to help offer some guidance and support in terms of understanding what could have happened, what it can mean and what to do. It is for all those who have faced or are facing miscarriage or recurrent miscarriage. And I must add that in addition to this, seeing a counsellor or family member of friend who can help offer emotional guidance, is crucial in processing the sorrow that can often be overwhelming.
Losing a baby is the hardest thing any parent ever has to face, and this is when we mustn’t shy away from the conversation but instead be there to empathise and offer what we can to help. You are not alone and as a medical profession, we hear you, see you and stand by you.