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The Patient Perspective: My Doctor Is Part of My Family

Nova Scotia’s family doctors care for patients of all ages – and they often care for generations of the same family. For many people, their family physician becomes more than just a health-care provider; over the years, they become more like a member of their extended family. In the happy moments and the challenging times, Nova Scotians know they can always rely on their family doctors for exceptional care.

Here are three stories – selected from more than 300 testimonials on our Story Map – from patients whose doctors are just like members of their family.

Dr. Steven MacDougall

As a new young doctor, Dr. Steven MacDougall took on a daunting task, accepting a referral from our paediatrician and taking on our family as patients. You see, our baby had just been diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta – a condition most had never seen. It has been a 30-year-plus association and we give thanks for such a wonderful, compassionate doctor who has been through all of our family’s ups and downs through all those years.– Brenda Wilde, Sydney

Dr. A. Jeans-Mingo

In 2007, we met our family doctor, Dr. A. Jeans-Mingo. We had moved to New Glasgow and were lucky to find her.

In a matter of months my family had a number of health concerns. The most important, however, being with my middle child; she had a febrile seizure, and then we discovered that she had an abnormal white-blood cell count. The concern at the time was cancer or meningitis. Either way, it was not good and sounded scary as a parent.

When I brought my daughter to the E.R., I will never forget that Dr. Jeans-Mingo showed up during the initial assessment, and came to see me and my daughter in what was the scariest moment of my life. The fact that she was there, and made an unplanned effort to see us because our family were her patients, is something I will never forget. My doctor matters, and I am grateful!– James Lundrigan, New Glasgow

Dr. Diane Edmonds

When we moved to the Bridgewater area, we didn’t know what we were going to do about a family doctor. We were exposed to various doctors through the pregnancy clinic, as we were expecting our second child. Dr. Diane Edmonds was my favourite and I was thrilled when she was the doctor on call when we arrived at the delivery room.

As they checked our new son, I heard her call from across the room, “They want to list your family doctor.” I said we hoped it would be her and she accepted our request. Over the last 16 years, she has been a vital part of our family support system. We treasure her real concern, care and commitment. She has called us at home to follow-up during intensely difficult periods with health issues and found a way to be available when it looked impossible. I don’t know what we would ever do without her.– Sherry Trimper, Bridgewater

Do you know having a good relationship with your family doctor is beneficial to your health and quality of life?

Research tells us that people who have a family doctor have better health outcomes. Better health outcomes means better quality of life.

Having a family physician improves health outcomes for many reasons, but at the centre of all these reasons is the doctor-patient relationship you depend on over your lifetime.

The doctor-patient relationship is built and nurtured as you and your doctor get to know each other over time. Like all relationships it’s a two way street. It’s important for you to be open and honest with your doctor. The information you give your doctor provides potential clues to health issues that you may not be aware of.

Family doctors see people at all stages of the life cycle and in every state of health, often when we are at our most vulnerable. They have a broad knowledge of our health needs and our body systems. From providing prenatal care to juggling the complex health-care needs of frail seniors, family doctors do and see it all.

Read more: Four Reasons Why A Good Relationship With Your Family Doctor Is Good For Your Health

Have something to contribute? Leave a story about your physician on the Story Map or comment below!