The Educated Patient

Taking a Risk with a Chronic Condition

How to Work with an Educated Patient

Dr. David Unwin, MD

Dr. David Unwin, MD, is an award-winning general practitioner (or family doctor) known for pioneering the low-carb approach in his profession in the UK. In 2016 he won the prestigious NHS Innovator of the Year award for his work with diabetes patients. On top of that, Dr. Unwin is the medical advisor at the popular Low Carb Program and is doing his best to spread knowledge about low carb among doctors, dietitians and nurses.

In 2017/18, his practice saved £57,000 on drugs for type 2 diabetes, hypertension and other conditions by offering patients a dietary alternative to medications. Recently Dr. Unwin was named the ninth most influential general practitioner in the UK by GP magazine Pulse. Moreover, he is Clinical Expert in Diabetes at Fellowship of the UK Royal College of General Practitioners where he was elected as a Fellow in 2008.

Dr. Unwin has also written several peer-reviewed papers to strengthen the science behind low-carb diets.1

Why does this matter?

Whether you are a jaded clinician, a researcher, a skeptical scientist, or even a disillusioned patient with no appetite for the discussion; this website should provide you with more than enough food for thought. I want to help patients and physicians communicate better. With the internet, many patients are researching their own conditions. Some are even challenging the traditional power dynamic between doctor and patient, and I am one of them. The successful navigation of the relationship when a patient operates outside the standard of care is critical to a positive health outcome. I want to develop a model that allows clinicians to work better with an educated patient.

What is an educated patient?

I am an educated patient and have been researching the genetic condition (MERRF) that runs in my family since the death of my daughter in 1997. Many of the doctors I have come across know nothing about this disease. University educated with an Arts degree, I have also audited two upper level Kinesiology courses to discipline my current research. I have read over 600 scientific articles, many of them several times, and often with a medical dictionary close by. To keep my papers organized, I use Mendeley, and use social media to stay current.

Willing to be wrong, I always assume I know less than everyone else on a topic. I try to learn from people smarter than me and have no academic reputation to protect. I have read widely, deeply and intensely on this subject for many years. My interest is based on a very keen and personal awareness of the need for further research into rare diseases. As an educated patient, I want to change the way patients and physicians work together. I want my medical team to be more like a Board of Directors. To be a successful chairman of the Board, I need learned and trusted colleagues on my health care journey, and you are my best guide.

What are my interests?

I’ll take a good idea wherever I find it. Because my condition is very rare with no cure or therapy, I am willing to take risks others may not. Taking a risk is the price I will pay to achieve a higher quality of life. I am ready to fight for my quality of life and will not wait for evidence based medicine to catch up. Without a professional reputation, liability insurance or hospital politics to worry about, I can afford to take the risk. I am not paid by anyone to say or sell anything on this website. I am a family mediator in my offline life and I want to develop a model with scientists on how to work with an educated patient. Finally, and of course, I want a better health outcome for myself, my family and anyone else with a chronic condition.

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