4 Things an Award-Winning Neurologist Wants You to Know
Lehigh Valley Health Network Chief of Neurology Steven Lewis, MD, has spent much of his career teaching other physicians. But when he recently accepted the American Academy of Neurology’s 2019 A.B. Baker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Neurologic Education, he made a point of thanking people he considers the true fount of knowledge: “My patients, who teach me so much.”
“We learn from every encounter,” says Lewis, who previously was Program Director of Neurology Residency Training at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, edits a leading medical journal on continuing education in neurology and has held leadership positions with numerous professional organizations in the field. Lewis says, “I always say to colleagues, ‘Let a person tell their story and listen carefully – you’ll be more likely to make the right diagnosis and recommend the right treatment.’”
That makes the interaction you have with your neurologist crucial. Here are tips that Lewis says can make your consultation most effective.
Tell your whole story. Be prepared to tell your doctor the history of your neurologic symptoms from the beginning in your own words. Think about when symptoms began, how they occur and how they may have changed over time.
Include medications. Bring a list of your current medications and their doses – or better yet, pack up all your current drug bottles to show your neurologist. It’s also helpful to bring a list of any previous medications you may have tried for your neurologic problem. Don’t forget to mention any supplements you’ve tried or may be taking.
Bring images. If you have discs of relevant scans (such as brain or spine MRIs) that were done outside of LVHN, bring them along to your appointment. Without the actual computer disc in hand, your neurologist won’t be able to review the scans personally.
Don’t sweat your chart. It’s not a problem if the neurologist has not reviewed your medical record prior to your first visit. Most neurologists would prefer to learn your entire history directly from you in a personal conversation rather than potentially being biased by what previous doctors have diagnosed as the cause of your neurologic problem.