Excellent, Rock-Solid, Patient-Provider RelationshipFamily Doctor: Dr. Ashan Fernando
I began hearing about my dad’s family doctor a few years ago, not paying much attention. In retrospect, I should have asked dad what made this doctor stand out as he was in his 80s and surely had had many physician interactions over the course of his life. I should have known that this exemplary physician would take a more prominent role in my parents’ life as my dad was suddenly diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this year.
His diagnosis came as a shock because Dr. Fernando had been diligently investigating my father’s irregular lab results for some time, not leaving any stone unturned. He was the one who insisted that dad get a chest X-ray, which led to a CT scan indicating a mass, then a biopsy and a PET scan. Over the short course of my dad’s illness, Dr. Fernando received countless calls from my mom as she tried to navigate the system, the immense caregiver responsibilities that come with any terminal illness, the emotional stressors, and so much more. Dr. Fernando and his team always treated my mom with dignity and respect, responding to her inquiries with professionalism and true caring. Dr. Fernando even fit in a house call to my dad as his days neared the end, and the physician wished to share some final support and guidance as they asked him those hard-to-answer questions that none of us want to face. My dad’s spirits lifted when Dr. Fernando pulled up to the house late one evening after finishing his clinic work, on his way to care for HIS own family.
As an RN, I deeply appreciate the personal care Dr. Fernando provided my parents, but particularly how he made a connection with my extremely quiet and private father who had hearing difficulties and spoke English as a second language (which interfered often with his understanding of verbal communications). Dr. Fernando made a connection based on the fact that my dad’s team paved the long and dangerous highway Dr. F used to drive as a resident between his rural community and the urban center he provided service in. How Dr. F dug deep enough to uncover that from my quiet father I will never know, but upon that pebble they formed an excellent, rock-solid, patient-provider relationship that lasted until the end. Thank you, Dr. Fernando, for your excellence!