Listening Versus Hearing

December 1, 2016

InsideTract
Winter 2017

KALLOO, Anthony

Tony Kalloo, Director
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

There’s a difference between listening to our patients and really hearing them.

In this issue of Inside Tract, you’ll meet Vivek Kumbhari, our specialist in endoscopic weight loss. Dr. Kumbhari spends a great deal of time paying attention to his patients and their needs. He not only listens to their reasons for having difficulty losing weight, he hears those reasons. Dr. Kumbhari, along with our concierge weight loss staff, crafts programs based on what he learns from patients. No two patients are exactly the same; therefore, neither are their weight loss plans.

Kimberly Gudzune has become a leader in the burgeoning field of obesity medicine because of her superior clinical skills, her tireless innovative research, and her ability to hear and understand her patients. Obesity is an intimate topic, full of opportunities for patients to feel vulnerable and unsafe. Dr. Gudzune’s patients know she’s not only providing them great care; they also know she understands them.

Our story on Ellen Stein’s work with patients suffering from fecal incontinence also demonstrates a deep sensitivity and compassion. Patients are often too embarrassed to mention this problem, even to their physician. Dr. Stein’s approach has helped so many of her patients with this difficult problem. “By asking the right questions,” she says, “I hear answers that they haven’t told to other people or that they’ve been too ashamed to say.”

Patient trust is about confidence not only in their providers, but in the institution overall. Eun Ji Shin led a critical push to make sure that our endoscopes are microbe-free. After an outbreak of antibiotic-resistent bacteria at a West Coast medical center, Dr. Shin redoubled Johns Hopkins’ commitment to the cleanest, safest patient environment possible. I’m pleased to report that her efforts, along with those of our entire division, have allowed us to avoid these problems.

I hope you enjoy this edition of Inside Tract. As always, if you have any questions or any patient referrals, I hope you’ll contact me.

Tony Kalloo, Director
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine