Tag Archives: physicians

Why Do You Hate Children?

From the annual meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  

Protester's sign: "Why do you hate children?" Photo by Sherry Boschert.

 I encountered a weird, sad and somewhat frightening thing when covering the obstetricians’ and gynecologists’ big annual meeting this year — something I haven’t seen in my 20 years of medical news reporting, including many assignments to this very meeting.  

It took me awhile to recognize it. The first day, as I was trying to find the room number for a talk I wanted to cover, I noticed that there was a “mistake” in the program book. The room number for that particular session was missing. The next day, two more sessions that I wanted to cover had the same “problem” — no room number.  

So I asked for help from staff in the press office, and they seemed surprised to see these “errors” in the program too. But they knew who to call, and got me the room numbers, explaining that the omissions from the program were for “security” reasons.  

Then it hit me that the link between each of the “missing” sessions that I’d hoped to attend was that they all were about contraception. Not even abortion, mind you, just contraception.  

Throughout the meeting, protesters took up posts outside the convention center, haranguing attendees with shouts through bullhorns and enlarged anti-abortion signs and photos of fetuses, even one sign that accused these baby-loving physicians of hating children.  

I’ve seen that before, but never felt threatened. Perhaps I shouldn’t have felt so safe, considering that eight abortion providers have been murdered since 1993. Clearly, the meeting organizers were taking no chances. The fact that they felt they needed to protect contraception sessions is a sad sign of our violent times, and it occurred to me that the nervousness it generated in me must be something that many Ob.Gyns. live with every day.  

— Sherry Boschert (@sherryboschert on Twitter)
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Filed under Family Medicine, IMNG, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Uncategorized

Cure for the Common Cold: Doctors Who Care

Meeting local residents at the Rio Mar Beach Resort

Meeting local residents at the Rio Mar Beach Resort

From the annual meeting of the North American Primary Care Research Group in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico:

I’d like to think that all physicians care about their patients, but perhaps the patients don’t always get that message.  According to one researcher at this meeting, people who perceived that their doctors were more supportive and caring had significantly shorter colds and significantly less severe symptoms (after controlling for those pesky confounding variables) compared with patients who rated their doctors lower on an empathy scale.

The results are still being analyzed, but the impact of a caring doctor was more than skin deep–higher empathy scores also were significantly associated with higher levels of the immune system biomarker IL-8.

These results may or may not be applicable to other illnesses. But for doctors, the implication may be that their patients will benefit on many levels if they make a more obvious effort to be supportive. For patients, it may reflect the importance of having a good rapport with your doctor, or at least believing that you do.

-Heidi Splete

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Filed under Family Medicine