One of the situations that impacted me personally in the clinic was a patient with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

She had a lot of difficulties in her personal life, and really had been through a lot. She was taking antidepressants but had neglected her general health which led to several medical complications.

She was now in a new relationship and felt that she should start a family. She had tried to conceive naturally but had been unsuccessful. She wanted to embark on fertility treatment for medical reasons, but as a team, we felt that it wasn’t an appropriate situation or time. As a clinical team we were working in the best interest of her own and her future child’s physical and psychological health, and there was a clear opportunity at this time to improve her general health as well as personal support situation before embarking upon the fertility journey. 

There was a lot of stress involved. We have a duty to the well-being of the child to be born, and it was important to ensure that it would have the best possible environment to support and grow, but the woman was not able to fully appreciate where we were coming from. 

On several occasions during her consultation visits, she was aggressive towards members of staff and clinic reception. I had to remain calm and patient during a couple of consultations when the patient appeared to be distressed and started shouting and being aggressive. This of course, had an impact on me for some time, as it was an unpleasant experience. Upon thinking more, I looked at it as a learning experience in how to support patients in such difficult social or personal circumstances rather than letting it affect my behavior towards other patients or my family or colleagues.

As the patient refused our advice, all we could do was make sure to overcome all the hurdles along the way and make sure she had the best possible care before and during her fertility treatments and eventual pregnancy. I worked with colleagues from different specialties and numerous clinical sessions with the patient to achieve the best result. 

I am lucky to have very supportive colleagues at my workplace. There are always challenges in any job, and there will always be difficult clients (or in our case, patients) to deal with. But having people you can rely on, who will help you get through the day, makes it all right.

In the end, the patient had successful conception and delivery of the baby. It was stressful for some of us looking after the patient, but we thought about the wellbeing of the baby to be born at all times and supported each other during difficult consultations. We were able to contact her general practitioner and social services as well as offer her help from all relevant medical specialties to make sure her pregnancy was uncomplicated and to provide her and the baby with support that they would need after the delivery. It took some time to organize these support links but with teamwork, we did it finally.

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