Letters: Love And Autism, Second Medical Opinions

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NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments on previous show segments, including responses to a conversation about the challenges autistic people face in navigating romantic relationships, and about when and how to ask for a second medical opinion.


It's Tuesday, and time to read from your comments. During last week's show on love and autism, many listeners called and emailed, including Eric from Red Bluff, California. We read his email on the air. I will be a 40-year-old virgin in September. I dated once, when I was 32. Other than that, I've had no love interest where the love was reciprocated. I did not expect to ever find love. I do not believe I could be loved. That is all.

A listener named Thia(ph) reached out to respond. I was listening to TALK OF THE NATION today, and there was email read from a man named Eric from California. I have no idea who he is, but it hurt to think that he thinks no one would ever love him. I wish I could have told him that I love him.

And after last week's conversation about seeking second opinions, many of you wrote in about what happened when you went to a second doctor, including this piece of advice from Hilary Anthony(ph) in Eugene, Oregon: As a registered nurse, I will only say I have many times discharged a patient who was still reeling from the idea of a sudden upcoming surgery, and the surgeon is someone I wouldn't necessarily trust. But, of course, you can't say that.

If the patient asked me what I think, I say, well, you can always get a second opinion. You have that right. Every patient to whom I've said that has immediately understood what I wasn't saying and thanked me. Some have come back and thanked me. Every nurse I know who works in surgical settings has done the same. Ask your nurse and read between the lines, because we're not supposed to have opinions.

And this from Dr. Lynn Klimo, a psychiatrist in Ohio: I encourage my patients to get a second opinion. I believe that if any physician is telling you they have the absolute answer, you need to run the other way. Doctors are fallible. We are limited by our knowledge, and the information that's available today is immense. The best physicians are those that say I don't know, work as a team, utilize colleagues, are open-minded and encourage patients to take power over their own health. We need to collaborate with our patients. They are the healers. We are the guides. Medicine as the paternalistic model from the past does not work anymore. Educate our patients, and they can educate us.

If you have a correction, comment or a question for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name. If you're on Twitter, you can follow us there @totn.

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