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AUDIO: Dr. Lishan Aklog - Why Did You Become A Cardiologist?

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Well, I mean I am not including myself in this, but I have worked with many great doctors in all sorts of specialists, and I think at the end of the day, it really, the qualities are very basic and are the same independent, whether you are a rural general practitioner or whether you are some high-power sub-specialist in a big medical center, the basic qualities are the same because at the end of the day no matter what our specific skills or what we are doing, we are still at the end of the day taking, as I said, a human being and they are entrusting us with themselves and with, you know, in many ways with their life.

And one of the things that we take a lot of pride in and we will always do, no matter what the economics of health care dictate, is that we talk to our patients and we spend a lot of time with them. You know, the way I see it, when I meet a patient, it’s a very, you know, we may do heart surgery every day, but for that particular patient that’s an event, for their family it’s a very dramatic event of a lifetime and we try not to forget that, and so what may seem routine and common place for us because that’s what we do everyday, is far from that for other patient and their families.

So what I try to do is I try to really make sure that after we have discussed their condition and what the options are, you know, sometimes that will take an hour and a half to do that, that we are really on the same page and I really believe that there’s nothing so complicated in medicine that cannot be explained ultimately to a patient or their family if the doctor is patient and, you know, takes the time to explain things in terms that people can understand and so I think that’s extremely important.

So really, the specific answer to your question is, is to find somebody who will spend the time with you, who will talk to you, who will explain your condition, explain the options, be honest about risks that are involved. You know, the last thing is you want that someone say, “Oh this is routine. We do this everyday. Everything is going to be just fine.” That should be red flag, you know, I think that’s a great starting point.

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