Dr. Samuel Soyinka
Medical Director, Alimosho General Hospital, Lagos
The Medical Director, Alimosho General Hospital, Igando, Lagos, Dr. Samuel Ayodapo Soyinka, has charged all healthcare providers to show more empathy for patients in their care.
Dr. Soyinka made the call during the hospital’s monthly staff Continuous Medical Education (CME), with the theme “Management of Early Breast Cancer and Empathy in Healthcare Delivery”. He explained that there was a need for healthcare providers to show a deeper level of emotion and empathy for patients, especially those in pain, angry or depressed due to their afflictions.
The MD stated: “It is one thing to recognise patients’ feelings, it’s another to understand and share in their problems, then proffer prompt and appropriate response as well as going the extra mile to ensure their comfort.”
Another speaker at the event, Dr. Emmanuel Adesoji, a surgeon, also gave a presentation on the risk factors of breast cancer. He explained that there were natural lifestyle factors predisposing an individual to breast cancer, such as race, age, gender, personal history of breast disease, inherited gene, family history, radiation, obesity and smoking, among others. Noting that the black race was more predisposed to breast cancer, Dr. Adesoji emphasised that post-ovulation monthly self-breast examination was very key to the management of the onset of breast cancer in patients.
On his part, Dr. Saheed Ahmad, a Consultant General Surgeon, said lifestyle modification, self-breast examination and early presentation to the hospital were very imperative for successful management of breast cancer, whilst stressing the need for regular self-examination.
Dr. Ahmad added, “You are the first to notice any changes in your body, beware of painless swelling as this deceives and poses more danger than swelling that comes with pains. We must all know that breast cancer is not a death sentence, provided it is presented and managed early enough.”
Dr. Ahmad, therefore, urged everyone, especially females beyond the age of 40 years, to ensure regular self-breast examination, lifestyle changes and prompt visit to the hospital whenever they noticed any changes in the breast, as such steps go a long way in ensuring zero or reduced rate of mortality in the management of breast cancer.
Mrs. Yemisi Oyinlola, the Service Improvement Officer, also maintained that caregivers must show a lot of empathy for breast cancer patients as well as others under their care, adding that this could be done by showing compassion and being connected to the patient emotionally by putting oneself in the patient’s situation.
Mrs. Oyinlola encouraged all healthcare providers, irrespective of designation and cadre, to imbibe the culture of showing empathy for their patients in order to reduce anxiety, build trust, improve health outcomes and enhance job satisfaction.