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What Makes the Best Medical Care

By Wade Iwata
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

This past weekend we hosted a Family-2-Family (F2F) training at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).   Our F2F program is designed to connect trained parent, survivor, and bereaved mentors to families who are at a turning point along their journey.  For some, speaking to a trained mentor is helpful at the time of diagnosis, while others find it helpful when their child ends treatment, goes back to school, or is looking for employment.  Our training helps to address the wide variety of needs expressed by families. 

During the training, a very powerful and poignant discussion about which doctors were good and which were not was brought up.  There were some very passionate and strong opinions about doctors on both sides of the spectrum.  One father felt a deep gratitude to his son’s surgeon despite the lack of social niceties.  On the other side, a mother described that her child would never go back or see that same surgeon.   It was an interesting dynamic to hear families enthusiastically support one doctor while other families had an intense dislike for that same doctor. 

Many families and parents look to others who have already experienced this journey to help guide them along their path, and finding the “best” medical team to treat their child is one of the biggest concerns.  Throughout our time together at CHOP, the parents began to realize that the “best” medical care tends to come from doctors who meet their emotional needs.  It was a powerful realization for many of the parents, parents who had spent countless hours looking for the expert in one specific area.  Our discussion opened up the idea that there is more to medical care than science. That the emotional needs of families and the care/concern expressed by the treatment team helps to shape the idea of the “best” medical care.   This can best be summarized by a quote from one participant “I didn’t care if the doctor cursed at me, worse things have been said to me by people who love me.  I knew he was doing all he could for my son and that is what matters to me.”

Thank you to all of the amazing parents who joined us at CHOP to become parent mentors and to Nicole and Brett at CHOP for collaborating with us.  For more information on our F2F program, to become a parent mentor, or to be matched up with a mentor, contact CBTF at 866.228.4673. 

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