“Gut Feelings – The patient’s story” follows and expands the previous book of Dr. Drossman and Ms. Ruddy, on “Disorders of Gut-Brain (DGBI) Interaction and the Patient-Doctor Relationship”. The first book presented important perspectives on the doctor-patient relationship in Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction, illustrated by the Ms. Ruddy’s personal patient experience.
In this follow-up book, the focus is on the individual narratives of eight patients, who experienced a difficult journey through the healthcare system after presenting with chronic symptoms of DGBIs. Unfortunately, they experienced a lack of understanding, patience or time commitment when presenting to different healthcare providers, only leading to further aggravation of the disease impact. Each case is well-described, and then put into perspective by Dr. Drossman, a world-renowned expert on these disorders and on physician-patient communication, and by Ms. Ruddy, a well-known and experienced patient advocate.
Most healthcare professionals are motivated by the fascination for the functioning of the human body in health, the rapidly evolving science on how dysfunction causes illness and the ability to reverse disease and the prospect of making a difference in other people’s lives. The time pressures and busy schedules of a professional healthcare provide can be so overwhelming that the key aspect of taking care of patients, which includes sufficient time and commitment for interaction, can get lost. The book, both in the patient narratives and Dr. Drossman’s comments, offers multiple learning and introspection opportunities for the “too busy” clinician. In addition, it includes clinical/scientific pearls and illustrations on disease concepts, symptom generation, patient-centered management and the use of neuromodulators when treating DGBIs.
The book also provides relevant first-hand experience to patients with DGBIs, who can learn from these testimonies how to look for and how to communicate with the healthcare provider to obtain good and appropriate medical care. This is summarized in five key-take aways for patients in the Epilogue of the book.
Healthcare providers and patients with DGBIs, but also with other difficult to manage chronic conditions, will benefit from reading this book, which will improve their mutual interaction and understanding, leading to better health outcomes.
Jan Tack, M.D., Ph.D.
President of the Rome Foundation for Disorders of Gut Brain Interactions (DGBIs)
Head, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Leuven University Hospitals
Professor of Medicine, Translational Research Center for Gastrointestinal Disorders (TARGID)
Department of Chronic Diseases and Metabolism, University of Leuven
Visiting Professor, Institute of Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Sweden