Interviewer: If everyone takes insurance and if other doctors are not able to spend time with patients, how come you are? Why are you guys able to do that when other doctors can’t?
Sarim Mir: We have a system and a process in place. We have nurses who help in the history-taking. We have the ancillary staff. There are other people on the staff who are doing things.
Like I was telling you, we had to send that person to an ophthalmologist. I didn’t have to make that call, my staff did.
The thing is, a person who’s coming to see me, they are fellow human beings. If I can see that they are in danger or something is going to happen to them, I feel it’s my duty to do everything I can to help them because I fear for them.
Frequent Testing Can Clarify if the Symptoms Point Towards a Minor or a Serious Illness
Interviewer: You said that a lot of people will have these terrible symptoms and they’ll think that something’s really wrong with them. Is it usually that there’s some small thing that’s causing it or are people right that they have serious problems? I know every case is different.
Sarim Mir: The way I talk to them—I will take their history, go over all their symptoms, and go over all the tests they have done. Then I tell them, that I have gone over everything. If I don’t feel there’s anything wrong, then I tell them that if they continue to have symptoms, we can do some tests again. If they still continue to have symptoms then we can do other tests also.
I promise them that if there’s something wrong, we will do our best to find it. And I find that my patients believe that—that we’ll find if there’s something wrong.
A Cure Does Not Consist Solely of Prescription and Pills, the Doctor-Patient Relationship is An Important Aspect of the Cure
I do it if they come back again.
Like this person who came to me had a headache, so I tell this person that at this time there isn’t anything wrong. If his symptoms continue, then we can do an MRI. Then if that person comes back and continue to have those symptoms—if they are still afraid there’s something wrong in the brain, I’ll do the MRI.
There’s other testing that we do on the patient also. One test we do is called the EEG. It tests the activity of the brain. There isn’t any magic. You have to be the healer and it really doesn’t just have to be prescription and pills—the doctor-patient relationship is very important.
Cluster Headaches are Terribly Painful and Can be Caused by Alcohol
Interviewer: Any other kind of headaches that you found particularly difficult? What about cluster headaches, these impossible-seeming conditions that no one can solve?
Sarim Mir: You also have to educate the patient. These headaches are so terrible. The pain is so bad. The patients believe there is something terribly wrong with them. What you do is, you will help them and give them prescriptions that would help to take the headache away fast; and you will teach them to make lifestyle changes also—because cluster headaches can be brought on by alcohol. So you have to tell them that if they drink, there is a chance it would come back again.
Educating and Setting the Patient’s Expectations Can be a Powerful Factor in Treatment of the Patient
You tell them that they occur only for a short time, so they occur in clusters. So they can occur for about 3 weeks to about 6 weeks time. You also tell them that they would go away after that. Some people will get better with medication injections. On some people you have to prescribe oxygen, as they respond well to it. On some patients you have to prescribe them a daily prescription.
Education and setting the patient’s expectations is very important.