(BPT) - Anyone facing a medical challenge experiences many difficulties — and the journey that patients, families and even healthcare providers go through is not just physical, but emotional. To help those affected by illness or surgery, internationally renowned heart surgeon Dr. Ehsan Natour draws from years of experience in his book, “When Life Comes to a Standstill: The Surgeon Who Touches the Hearts of His Patients.”
“My book is a step-by-step guide,” says Natour. “It takes the reader through what happens if you become a patient needing heart surgery — from diagnosis to the operation to rehab. It is intended as a companion for these patients, and for their relatives and friends who will be their support team during illness and recovery.”
Natour offers practical advice for patients, family and healthcare professionals for coping with any kind of trauma, including these tips.
1. For patients
After any serious illness or surgery, you will discover things are not as they once were, and recovery may not be quick, easy — or complete. But you may discover benefits, like a slower pace of life or increased ability to appreciate the moment.
2. For family
Helping a loved one through a medical crisis or illness is also hard on family and friends. With those not used to seeing their loved one incapacitated, the sudden role change can be jarring, causing many to push the patient to “get better” too quickly.
Here's how you can help:
3. For healthcare providers
A major goal for Natour is to foster better doctor-patient relationships. Unfortunately, the modern healthcare system allows doctors minimal time with patients, but taking time to build a sense of trust makes a huge difference for all concerned.
“When you talk with someone you get to know each other, and this may lead to a better diagnosis,” says Natour. “The more relaxed patients are, the better they feel, and the more trust they have in their medical environment, the greater are their chances of healing.”
To create better relationships with patients as they confront illness or surgery, focus on:
To further support those affected by any sort of crisis or trauma, including for medical professionals, Natour has also founded Stichting Stilgezet, an organization in the Netherlands working closely with scientific research to understand the emotional and social context of this significant phase of life.
“This is why I became a doctor: to heal human beings, not just sections of them,” explains Natour. “As medical professionals, we can shape the encounters with our patients. We will experience that the good that we do will come back to us.”