In this health video you will learn how to gain a compassionate doctor/patient relationship.
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Lyle Hurd: I’d like to welcome Dr. Hyla Cass back to our conversation. Dr. Cass, we’ve talked about your commitment to your being a woman on a mission, and your commitment to treating the whole person rather than just the symptoms. You have also an attitude toward the way the doctor patient relationship should be handled. When did you begin to really get involved in this whole concept, the fact that there’s a real need for that kind of communication? Dr. Hyla Cass: I’m so glad you asked. My really first role model was my dad, who was a family physician practicing out of our home in Toronto. And from the earliest that I can remember, patients were coming to the house. I would answer the door, usher them in—he didn’t have a big staff, it was just him and me. Well, at least I answered the door, I don’t know if I was much help. But he was a great, great role model. He took me on calls, he would take me to the hospital, and I saw what a doctor did. I saw how he interacted with patients, how entire families would come in, how he’d go to people’s homes and see them in their natural environment and how generous he was, and really, pretty holistic. He was treating people’s lifestyle, he was treating the whole person, and he used minimal drugs. And I remember as new drugs would come out, and other doctors were using them, he would be warning patients to be really cautious, and rightly so, there was somebody who picked up, they said, “Let’s wait awhile,” and that turned out to be not so good for people. So he had a very good intuitive sense about what to do, and passed that on to me. As I was growing up people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought I was going to be a nurse to help my daddy, or actually be a doctor and he really did encourage me to go to medical school. I think women who have mentors like that, who encourage them to do that—it’s really wonderful and I still appreciate his presence, and he continues to inspire me. He passed away 10 years ago, he’s still a great inspiration to me. Lyle Hurd: You know, that’s pretty interesting, we today say, that basically, to have things work, first people have to be co-captains, kind of their own health care team. It sounds to me like your dad made his patients kind of participants on their own health care team? Dr. Hyla Cass: I think so. And I think that’s what I’m encouraging people to do as well. There’s no way, for example, someone comes in to me, and I’ve determined what supplements they need, they still need to be pretty much in contact with me, regarding how these things are working. It’s not just—“Here’s a prescription, goodbye, see you in a month or two.” It’s, “Send me an email. Give me a phone call. Let’s talk about how you’re doing. Add one new supplement at a time and fill in the food-mood journal, a food-mood supplement journal.” Let’s be very interactive. This will take a lot of my time, but it makes such a tremendous difference. They know that I’m there. They become good observers and they learn not to be too imposing on my time—I think it really works out very well. It’s very much a mutual process and the results really show that. Lyle Hurd: Thank you very much. It’s nice to have you. Dr. Hyla Cass: Pleasure.