March 31, 2006

Book looks at ways to shore up patient/doctor relationship

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Frank Boehm, M.D.

Book looks at ways to shore up patient/doctor relationship

Vanderbilt professor Frank Boehm, M.D., examines the patient/doctor relationship in today's society in contrast to the bygone days of house calls complete with coffee and cake in his latest book, “Building Patient/Doctor Trust,” a sequel to 1991's “Doctors Cry, Too.”

Boehm is a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, former director of Maternal/Fetal Medicine and former chair of Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Ethics Committee.

It was no accident that his March 30 book signing at Davis-Kidd in Nashville coincided with national Patient/Doctor Trust Day.

“Trust is the glue that binds patient to physician, and it is critical in a physician's ability to dispense good medical care,” Boehm said.

“Trust is one aspect of medicine that can encourage peace and comfort of mind, and also an element of cure.”

The book provides a guideline for patients to receive the care they expect and for physicians to achieve a positive relationship with their patients.

“On my book tour around the country for “Doctors Cry, Too” (Hay House, 2001), I found a lot of mistrust and a lot of frustration from patients as well as doctors,” Boehm said.

Just as patients depend on their physician, physicians also depend on their patients, said Boehm, also an opinion/editorial columnist for the Tennessean.

“With physicians leaving the operating room for a trip to the ATM, medical instruments showing up in a patient's post-op body, wrong organ or appendage removal … no wonder the legendary doctor/patient trust relationship has become an endangered species,” Boehm said.

“And I have heard all too often cries of 'my doctor always seems so rushed and doesn't appear to take an interest in me or my health concerns.'”

Boehm is presenting his “Building Patient Communication & Trust” lecture to physicians, nurses, practitioners and lay audiences nationally.

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