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My Approach to Care

Guided Hike
ASCRS headshot jill picture 2018.JPG

I want to 
               see
                      you.

Dear Patient,

I know you did not choose to be here. 

However, you must be here.  I will be your guide.

You may show up tired, frightened, over-informed, alone, with half of your family, with someone you didn't want to bring . . . it doesn't matter to me.  You showed up.

I will help you create your own safe space to sit with your new journey, a space that I hope soon expands far beyond the walls of the clinic.  Included in the space of healing must also be space for grief.  We grieve when we lose our health.  This is normal and unavoidable.  Take care of yourself and your grief as though you were you own best friend.

I will do my job as your surgeon.  We will discuss options, including non-surgical options as appropriate.  We will discuss risks and benefits of each option.  For more common diagnoses (like these), I typically start with a structured discussion of your diagnosis and treatment considerations, which often answers many questions.

However, if you are coming for evaluation of symptoms, I must begin with a physical exam to verify your diagnosis before that conversation can begin. 

If you have a particularly challenging situation, I may want time to think creatively about it, or to formally or informally run it by a colleague.  If you have a cancer diagnosis, I will present you at a Multidisciplinary Tumor Conference where other cancer specialists will weigh in on treatment recommendations.  Whatever your diagnosis, I will assure that you have the information and tools you need to navigate your healing process.

I welcome and encourage you to bring your people with you to your appointments, whether they are your family or your friend(s).  I want to meet them as much as they want to meet your surgeon before you have surgery.

To be equitable to everyone, I try to keep clinic running on schedule.  You may ask when your appointment is scheduled to begin and end, so you can empower this process too.  If we find that we need more time, we can schedule that.  I encourage you to come prepared with your list of questions so we use our time wisely.  As we have seen >10% of the health care work force leave the field since the pandemic, I think all of us better appreciate the importance of stewardship of scarce healthcare resources.

If I am running behind, or if your appointment must be rescheduled, I apologize.  The colon is an often untrustworthy organ.  It is a top cause of Emergency Department and other urgent visits among the members of the digestive system, not to mention a top cause of emergency digestive organ surgeries.  Please bring a book and be patient with me and my team.  We will each give you our undivided attention as we are able.

Thank you for trusting me with your precious and beautiful life.

Sincerely,

Jill Clark

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