08 November 2005

Creative Strategies To Health

Certainly one of the most difficult aspects of being a doctor is when you give a health advice to your patient and he nods his head just to be polite. As soon as he steps out of the clinic, he chooses to ignore what you advised and continues with his old unhealthy routine. He expects to get well from his sickness, of course, but finds it either ridiculous or unbelievable to follow your health advice --- no matter how eloquently you argued about it.

That is why I am impressed at the current approach being utilized by the British Heart Foundation to deliver its message. Both the Manchester Evening News and Reuters describe it as "gory" and employing "shock tactics" to deliver home the message that stuffing yourself constantly with " cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets and hot dogs," might bring about a sad and tragic ending.

The most appealing and most creative --- at least, as far as I'm concerned --- is this one by Dr Tanya Byron, a correspondent of the Times of London. Below is an excerpt, but I encourage you to read the full text for maximum impact.
In April this year I lost my father, a great friend and a wonderful man, to a sudden and massive heart attack. A film, television and theatre director of great talent, passion and energy, he died while rehearsing his actors for a forthcoming theatre production. Laughing and joking with them as he worked, he suddenly turned, went pale and, gentleman to the last, said “excuse me” as he fell to the floor. He was only 67, apparently healthy and had no history of heart disease.

My father was incredibly energetic: a brilliant, vibrant man, and I still feel the shock and overwhelming sadness of his absence. At 38, I am too young not to have him in my life and I miss his love, support, kindness and friendship. I know my feelings will resonate with other people who have lost loved ones to heart disease. It is a killer that often strikes without warning --- although looking back on my father’s life, there were signs. [TIMES Online, Nov 07 2005]

Sometimes, we have to use the emotional strategy to bring home the message that being healthy doesn't only mean a longer lifespan, but also spending more time with our loved ones. By giving emotional reasons why we need to remain healthy, we might be able to convince those having a hard time disobeying doctors' orders.

2 reactions:

Rygel said...

Welcome back Doc!

I think pictures would be more convincing... or actual speciments... brains that suffered from stroke... blackened lungs so that it would really be shocking!

Bubber said...

Funny, I have a similar reaction when I ask a doctor about vitamin C and they tell me there's no research indicating that it does anything to help you or worse still they say it can become a pro-oxidant when taken above RDA's. I wonder if these guys have any time to read the latest research or if they are just repeating something they heard one of their professors say in medical school (and who is probably on the payrole of some big pharmaceutical company).

Sorry, I'm being a bit pessimistic here. Couldn't help myself.