A Doctor’s Struggle to Give Optimum Care to His Father and Patients

Dr. Amish Desai speaks with the utmost sincerity on KevinMD’s recent podcast. The doctor explained the difficulty he encountered trying to balance treatment for his father while giving the same quality of care to his patients and family. At times, it felt one was in conflict with the other.
The challenge to Dr. Desai’s medical practice began in February 2022 when his father was placed on oxygen to combat his first idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) flare up. Dr. Desai had treated patients with IPF and knew that now his days with his dad were limited.

About IPF

IPF is a condition in which the lungs are scarred and breathing becomes increasingly difficult. The cause is still unknown. IPF usually affects people between the ages of seventy and seventy-five. Learn more about idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis here.

About the Elder Desai

The elder Desai immigrated from India in the late 1970s. He worked at two jobs and then changed careers in order to give his children better opportunities.
Dr. Desai is especially grateful for that opportunity as it enabled him to offer a path forward through his love and medical training.

If You Were My Father

Dr. Desai often approaches treatment decisions by saying: “if you were my father…” He explains that this statement expresses the deep and caring nature of his practice. Dr. Desai often reflects on the needs of his healthcare patients, sometimes at the expense of his own needs and those of his family.
When he began to care for his father, his first step was to consult his own network. The doctor’s residency program director connected him to a former pulmonologist who was gathering opinions at top transplant institutions. Then he became someone he coined as a physician-son health coach. He even received permission from his dad to give him a bath. Dr. Desai attended doctor visits, double-checked labs and medicine regimens, and coordinated healthcare providers.
He recommends focusing on shared wellbeing with family and friends, though it is also important to add some personal time without feeling guilty. The doctor often receives notes from friends asking how he is doing. His first instinct is to answer “not great.” But he opposes that thought and makes every effort to remain positive.
As he reflects on the past months as lifelong learning, he realizes that the next few months will be more of a challenge. Yet he is committed to being the best physician son for his dad.
Rose Duesterwald

Rose Duesterwald

Rose became acquainted with Patient Worthy after her husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) six years ago. During this period of partial remission, Rose researched investigational drugs to be prepared in the event of a relapse. Her husband died February 12, 2021 with a rare and unexplained occurrence of liver cancer possibly unrelated to AML.

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