Meet Dr. Majd Makhoul, a pediatric cardiologist and this week's guest on Making the Rounds. At the Kentucky Children's Hospital Congenital Heart Clinic, Dr. Makhoul treats young patients who are born with heart defects or who have acquired some kind of heart problem later on in their life. We talked to Dr. Makhoul about why he is passionate about this specialty and how he makes complicated diagnoses more manageable for his patients and their families.
What drew you to pediatric cardiology?
Pediatrics has always been my passion, and I wanted to do something that actually will make a difference in kids' and families' lives. I always was fascinated about the heart, even growing up, so this combination of the kids and the heart has always been on my mind. So it was the perfect fit from my ambitions and fascinations growing up.
How do you support families faced with this type of diagnosis?
Some of these families, it’s not really a one-time stop for them. It’s a journey. It’s a life-changing journey for a lot of these families. We have to walk through the steps that we anticipate for them and explain them as much as possible and support them along the way.
Why is patient education important?
Patient education is a huge part of what we do. Fifty percent of my time in clinic is actually spent counseling the parents and educating them. We have some of the very, very complex heart defects – you actually have to pick up a pen and draw pictures and explain a lot of the details in a way that a non-medical lay person can understand. That sometimes can be very challenging, so we have to keep asking to make sure they actually understand and grasp the concepts that we want them to.
On the other end, we do extra training and extra education for these families before they go home. They sometimes require CPR training or simple medical procedures, like placing a feeding tube for example. A lot of education happens in clinic and in the hospital by doctors, nurses and social workers along the way.
Watch our interview with Dr. Majd Makhoul to find out how he coaches and comforts his patients and their families during this lifelong journey.
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