One of the great things about medicine is that you interact with all kinds of people every day. Male, female, young, old, people of different ethnic backgrounds and economic status. These interactions can be moving, challenging or funny, but some can be frustrating. Here are examples of some of my patient encounters which serve as reminders of how essential patient education is in clinical practice.
"Please take your shoes off"
Me: Please take your shoes and socks off (even though there are signs that say, “If you have diabetes, please remove your shoes and socks so we may examine your feet.”)
Patient: Both of them?
Me: Just the ones you don’t want amputated.
Patient takes one shoe off while I wait.
Me: I meant take them both off.
Many patients are unaware that diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic amputations in the U.S., as well as the leading cause of blindness and dialysis. It is important for them (and us) to look for early signs of damage so that we can prevent progression.