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“It is well known that men and women have different communication styles, and learning how to effectively communicate with each other is important. This is one of the main focuses of our book, which aims to give women the knowledge and tools to ask the right questions during their encounters with physicians.
I’ve performed thousands of hip and knee replacements throughout my career, and I’ve never had a woman patient ask me what the implants are made of. I’ve had many male patients ask me this question, which always surprised me because I would think, ‘Why do you care? What does it matter to you what alloys are used in the implant?’ But the difference is that I can answer that question very specifically and concretely. When a patient feels that I can answer their questions and that I know my stuff, they are more likely to trust me and feel comfortable with me as their doctor.
Women, on the other hand, are more likely to ask questions about how long they will be in pain after surgery. This is a question that I cannot answer specifically because everyone’s recovery journey is different. I can give a general idea of how most patients recover in terms of their pain, but I cannot be more specific.
Another important topic to discuss is the use of online health information. Both men and women often go online to look for information about their health, but there are pitfalls to be aware of. One of the main issues is that people often come to their clinical encounters with a self-diagnosis that may or may not be accurate. It is our job as health care professionals to uncover the truth and provide accurate information. Cancer is a common example where patients may think they have a certain condition, but in reality, it may be something else entirely. It is important for us to be thorough and provide reliable information to our patients.”
Mary O’Connor is an orthopedic surgeon.
She shares her story and discusses her book, Taking Care of You: The Empowered Woman’s Guide to Better Health.
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