The Patient and Doctor Bond: A Necessary Requirement

Teresa Wright-Johnson avatar

by Teresa Wright-Johnson |

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Patiently Awakened

I have been under the care of physicians for as long as I can remember. Cardiologists, primary and several others. In the past few years, added to this list is a neurologist. I must say that I have been fortunate. I am ministered to by caring, esteemed, inspiring and empathetic people who seem to believe that a bond between patient and doctor is important.

I’ve heard several patients avow that they are not happy with their physicians and that they don’t feel as if their concerns are respectfully acknowledged. They say there is no connection. Hearing this is vexing. There are times when I, too, am told that “bedside manner” is not important. The argument made is as long as the patient is receiving the best care, everything else is insignificant. They say the doctor’s expertise and accreditation are paramount. Personally, I don’t fully agree. My position is that expertise, knowledge and the patient/doctor relationship are essential.

I am of the opinion that patients with chronic illnesses, such as Multiple Sclerosis, need to have a comfortable, open line of communication with their physicians. As a patient, managing my illnesses and injuries is difficult both physically and emotionally. There are many occasions on which I look to my doctor for guidance and support. The two most catastrophic illnesses I fight are MS and heart disease.

My childhood cardiologist, who is now deceased, was with me from my adolescent years into adulthood. Losing him was difficult. I felt safe under his care and I knew that he acted in my best interest. He genuinely cared for me and fought the fight with me. My current cardiologist is of the same caliber.

Doctors who listen to patients, and never dismiss concerns

I have been under the care of my MS specialist for almost four years. I can honestly say that I am completely satisfied with my quality of care. He has been of great support. My doctor, one of the best in his field, listens to me and never dismisses my questions or concerns. He engages me and keeps me thoroughly informed. In addition, he is humane.

Regrettably, there are many physicians who have not mastered the ability to both provide care to, and genuinely care for, their patients. This, for me, is unacceptable.

As a patient, if you are not satisfied with your quality of care, or the relationship you have with your physician, you have the right to say so. Chronic illness is difficult enough. Feeling angst, fear, disappointment and invalidation will further compromise your health and wellness. You are your own best advocate, and you don’t have to settle for substandard care.

Great care and open relationships with my doctors have helped me to cope with and survive these illnesses. I find solace in knowing my physicians act on my behalf. A good rapport with your doctor is important. If that does not exist, you are already losing ground. Seek until you find it.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Philip Longford avatar

Philip Longford

"He genuinely cared". What an interesting concept!!
My first consultant genuinely was completely uninterested. From what I could gather, from the very limited conversations we had, was that there was no treatment available, for PPMS, so, being a Very Important Person, why waste time, on people with an incurable illness?
The last meeting I had with him, he spent the majority of the meeting, on the phone to another, more junior, doctor, giving him loads of probably very helpful advice, about the Junior Doctors' patient. I have never been back. Probably the feeling that any meeting would have been a waste of time, was mutual.
Since then, I have been doing my own research, and this website is a very helpful source of information.
Going to see a new consultant in a couple of weeks. Hoping to be eligible for HSCT.

Martha avatar


I was first told by General dr he thought I had ms. Sent to dr stayed all day said I didn't have anything wrong with me.lessions on brain could hardly walk tingling hands feet etc. Found a world know dr in small town 50 miles from me he is wonderful! I have just found out I also have a immune disease I was more than likely born with. I will add ivig with my other infusion I take every 28 days. You will find right dr he is out there. Keep your chin up and I don't know if you believe in prayer or God. But surely do! If so keep praying without ceasing! I will pray for your well being!


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