Flip Flops, Groin Kicks and Physicians without Heart have no place in PFO Patient Care

Flip Flops, Groin Kicks and Physicians without Heart have no place in PFO Patient Care

By David Dansereau,MSPT

I admit, I’ve needed a boost to get back to my know-stroke blog after almost a month away from posting.  You see, I’ve been working hard at expanding my physical therapy business recently but have never lost sight of my goal for this blog and/or for the larger vision of  our non-profit group the PFO Research Foundation, for which I currently serve as Vice President.  It took several recent impactful posts by PFO patients on my blog who shared their stories recently here to get me going again.  I’m not going to say it took a groin kick because this is the exact statement a physician made at our 2011 PFO Summit in Boston last month that has left me short on words until this post.  The recent patient stories I reference you can find here: See Christine’s and Stephanie’s recent posts.  They both highlight the continued need for better patient education for PFO/stroke/migraine.  As I read their stories I had a flashback to our PFO Summit and to the physician who will remain unnamed.
This physician addressed a roomful of medical professionals and a handful of patients as he spoke at conference about PFO and migraine.  In his presentation he proceeded to describe what advice he would suggest if a friend asked if he should consider PFO closure as an option for managing migraines.  I am paraphrasing because I haven’t yet been given the opportunity to review the replay of the conference, but his advice is stuck in my brain because it was so out of character and inappropriate.  Implying that the patient would be better off “getting kicked in the groin” than having a PFO closed percutaneously is ridiculous, and perhaps riduculous is just the angle this doc was going for, but that was his advice and I infer his medical opinion of PFO closure. Perhaps too, medical advice like this is also exactly why patients like Christine  and Stephanie and many more in our patient group need to have their stories told to demonstrate the need for better, much better care from the medical community.
My advice to physicians-Stop flip flopping, as many of your colleagues are currently doing when it comes to  deciding how to best treat PFO.  I hope someone from conference will step up and address the flip flop issue here (please comment below).
My advice to patients– Ask questions,get references,research and list your pros and cons, ask more questions,even if you know the answers may be potentially ugly and by all means get involved to make a difference.  Inquire and learn all there is to know about clinical trials and the device options vs medical management,then once all this work has been completed sleep on it until your gut feels at rest and your heart will then be ready to do the heavy lifting ahead.

Oh, and speaking of heart, Christine  said it best at the end of her recent post,

Always keep an open mind, and even more importantly, an open heart.”
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