Why does connecting on social media matter to you?
I love connecting on social media for a variety of reasons. I use Facebook for most of my personal posts. I was one of the early Twitter adopters, but not for medicine. When other docs started joining, I was ready to broaden my interests, and joined the #bcsm community. I look forward to the weekly chats, because I feel a real connection within this group. Arkansas is a long way from anywhere, and so I don’t feel so isolated.
Can you really counsel patients online?
My definition of counseling is very broad, so I think I can do some of it online. I include moral support, helpful hints, and sharing emotions in my definition of counseling, and those I share freely. I don’t mind pointing someone with a question or problem in the right direction for an answer or solution, especially outside my field.
How important are second opinions?
I strongly believe that a patient must have the utmost confidence in their caregivers. I encourage second opinions when patients ask about them. It gives them confidence that they are pursuing the best treatment. Many patients come back after consulting another surgeon. However, I make sure they know that no matter who they chose for their care, I wish them well. I never close the door to helping them again, if needed.
How does a patient switch doctors?
Switching doctors can be a stressful time. The new doctor will need all of the information that has been obtained, including imaging studies, pathology reports, previous treatments and procedures. For surgeons, operative notes can be important. Although the former doctor can provide records, they may also be obtained from the facilities that performed the testing. However, I recommend keeping a file with all of your test results, and other information that could be useful in the future. This information becomes harder to obtain as the years go by.
Dr. Dana Abraham was born and raised in Little Rock, AR, and has been a Breast Surgical Oncologist there for 20 years. She has an adult daughter with Down Syndrome and a wonderful teenage son. She enjoys many outdoor activities in The Natural State. Follow her on Twitter: @Dr_Dana.