Fertility Blog

Dr. Carolyn Givens's Philosophy on Being a Physician

Finally, I would like to share my philosophy about my role as a fertility physician and the set of beliefs that guides me in my relationships with my patients.

  1. Be honest. My number one role as a physician is to care for my patients. This sounds so obvious, but I, as I suspect is true of most doctors, went into medicine because I wanted a career where I could provide for the medical and the emotional needs of those I CARE for. My job is to provide the best information to my patients, based on sound medical evidence (i.e. research studies) so that they can make informed decisions about their own care. Sometimes, the information I provide is good news: your chances are good, we can help you. Sometimes, the news is not so good: your chances of conceiving are statistically very low and you may need to consider alternatives. Whatever the situation, my job is to provide this honest assessment in a compassionate manner and help my patients come to the right decision.
  2. Commit to the treatment. Once the patient and I have made a decision on the course of treatment based on the best information, I commit myself to this completely. We may modify the plan as we gain more information in the process, but I am fully committed when it comes to implementing the treatment plan.
  3. Keep striving to be the best. This means attending meetings, reading journals, staying current with research studies and applying sound data to keep the treatments we prescribe grounded in the best medical information. If I don’t know the answer to a problem, I do my best to find it.
  4. Use information wisely. I do not jump into the latest fad in fertility treatment. After 20 years in this field, I have seen a lot of hot ideas come and mostly go. What sounds so good on the surface often, under the careful scrutiny of well done studies, does not end up being the magic bullet everyone had hoped. However, other promising ideas (e.g. ICSI, egg and embryo vitrification, microarray PGD) do turn out to be sound. The beauty of PFC is that as soon as we can verify a treatment to be sound, we can incorporate it into our practice.
  5. Strive for the overall health of our patients and their family. My responsibility is to ensure that my patients’ treatment is safe as well as effective. This means not only the safety of the patient during treatment, but also the fetus and baby. We are working very hard to minimize multiple gestations, even twins, because this is the one thing we can do that will directly impact the health of our patients’ children.
  6. Live compassion. If a physician does not take the time to get to know his or her patients and their individual needs, how can there be treatment of the complete person? In my scrapbook I have saved the thank you cards, baby announcements and yearly holiday greetings from my patients of the last 15 years, so one day I can look back with pleasure on my life’s work. But the greatest compliment comes from the patient who tried very hard to conceive and could not, despite their and my best efforts, and says to me “thank you for giving me all you could. I know you tried your best and I was well cared-for.” That means the world to me.

    -Carolyn Givens, M.D.

Posted on December 20th, 2010

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