Professionalism, friendliness and fun: The keys to a great doctor-patient relationship

M. Blache

On April 17, 2014, an almost fully paralyzed Yvon Blache was rushed to the Emergency Department at the Lachine Hospital. The 75-year-old former accountant, who had enjoyed excellent health up until then, had collapsed in his home.

A terrible virus

After performing a lumbar puncture, Blache was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a neurological disorder in which the immune system attacks the myelin, or “sheath,” of nerve cells. Without this envelope, nervous signals are slowed down.

“Guillain-Barré is a terrible virus! There was nothing I could do. For the first time, I accepted death without fear,” reveals Blache, whose brother became paralyzed at 53 after a stroke.

Human contact

After being quickly transferred to intensive care at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro), Blache was treated by neurologists Dr. Michel Aubé and Dr. Raluca Pana. Their skills, friendliness and sense of humour put him at ease.

“Their professional and exceptional care kept me from becoming depressed or from panicking,” he says. “And Dr. Aubé’s jokes kept me laughing!”  

According to Dr. Aubé, a positive patient-doctor relationship can impact recovery by 30 to 40 per cent. 

“I always tease my patients and try to make them laugh, even in critical situations,” he says. “This helps them understand that we're human, just like them.”

After spending 23 days at The Neuro and 21 days at the Hôpital de Réadaptation Villa Médica, Blache is now doing well, despite some fatigue.