What am I, Chopped Liver? Communicating with Your Doctor

Janet L. Kwiatkowski, MD
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Division of Oncology
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

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Series: The STARBRIGHT Videos with Attitude Series
Producer: The STARBRIGHT Foundation
Price: $35.00 (Ordering Information)
FREE to teens and preteens with serious and chronic illness (and their parents).
OncoLink Rating:

The Starbright Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children with serious illnesses cope with their medical and psychosocial challenges. One of the Foundation's projects is the creation of the "Videos with Attitude" series. These videos are particularly targeted to teenagers with chronic medical conditions who face the unique challenge of maintaining independence and transitioning from childhood to adulthood while simultaneously coping with serious illnesses. The videos feature teens talking openly with each other about their feelings, questions, and concerns.

This 15-minute documentary focuses on the difficulties that adolescent patients may encounter when communicating with their physicians. Several teens with different chronic illnesses including cancer, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and Crohn's s disease talk candidly about their experiences with their doctors. One patient speaks about feeling intimidated by her doctor because of his extensive education. Another describes the frustration of feeling ignored by her doctor who addressed the conversation to her parents rather than her. This video conveys the importance of establishing a trusting relationship with one's physician. It encourages adolescent patients to be informed about their illnesses, treatments, and possible side effects.

This video is instructive both for teenagers with chronic illnesses and their health care providers. It validates the concerns of teenage patients and provides constructive ideas with which to address them. By providing medical professionals with a glimpse into the feelings of teenagers with chronic illnesses, it also suggests ways to improve their interactions with these patients. It is a superior reference and is highly recommended by OncoLink.


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