Why Refer Patients With Cardiovascular-Kidney-Metabolic Syndrome to a Dietitian (2) "Every patient deserves the chance to fail"

26 March, 2024

Dear Joseph,

Thank you for the Medscape article. I noted the following:

1. "These patients didn't understand that skipping their blood pressure pills or ignoring their blood sugar would eventually destroy their kidneys."

2. "Our dialysis patients, who suffered with obesity, diabetes, hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, and CKD for years, if not decades, before advancing to kidney failure had no idea that these systems were connected"

3. "One of my favorite nephrologists used to say, "Every patient deserves the chance to fail." His point was that it was the responsibility of the healthcare team to provide the patient with the support [information] needed to improve their health, even if we didn't believe that they would put forth the effort to be successful."

4. "We often found this frustrating because we would take the time to identify resources, even knowing that there was little chance the patient would use them. But the point was that the patient was given the opportunity to fail. They were given every option available to them."

For me, there is something quite profound here about empowering people to take action for their health, but that ultimately it is their choice.

Our primary responsibility is to ensure that every person has access to the information they need to protect their own health and the health of others. Such information should be not only accurate, but also in the right format, language and technical level to be understandable and useful. Where such information is not readily available, and where there is misinformation, people will continue to be poorly informed and more likely to make poor choices. "Every patient deserves the chance to fail"

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: neil@hifa.org