INTERVIEW WITH STEVE SCHADENDORF, MD
What guided your decision to go into medicine and specifically, your chosen field?
I always felt medicine was the best way I could work with people and help them. I always admired physicians and their ability to not only diagnose and treat, but to also create a sense of calm and hope in people. I chose Neurology because Neuroanatomy fascinated me in the first few months of medical school. The ability to diagnose and treat based on a knowledge of anatomy and physical exam findings was extremely interesting to me. I also had an incredible Neurology mentor early in medical school who showed me that you could be a great clinician and teacher while also being compassionate.
“Being empathetic can help you understand the frustration and anger a patient is feeling towards their illness.”
Have you ever been a patient, and if so, what did it teach you?
I have had several surgeries and it taught me that everyone at some point in their lives will face illness and pain. Being empathetic can help you understand the frustration and anger a patient is feeling towards their illness. Also, the fastest recovery can happen and be maintained when you follow the advice of your physician.
What are the most important qualities for a doctor to have?
Great listening skills, empathy, the ability to adjust his/her conclusions based on the patient’s symptoms and test findings, up to date knowledge, but also an ability to recognize when he/she needs to consult with other doctors or experts in a certain field.
What can a patient expect when they have you as a doctor?
A good listener who will be very honest and try to help guide them and their families through their illness. While I may not be able to cure many of the diseases they are suffering from, I can help them make important decisions and direct them to helpful resources.
What is the most important factor in the doctor/patient relationship and why?
Trust – because the patient needs to trust that the physician has their best interest in mind and the doctor needs to trust the patient will follow the physician’s advice.
What is your favorite activity outside of work?
I enjoy camping and hiking with my family, playing guitar, going to concerts, and listening to music.
If you could spend a day with any person in the world (dead or alive) – who would you choose?
Barack Obama. I am inspired by the way he was able to face a lot of very difficult choices and still be able to raise a family under extreme circumstances.
What would you do for a living if you weren’t a doctor?
Something creative – like playing guitar or writing.
You recently joined the Doctorpedia team as a Founding Medical Partner. What about Doctorpedia resonates with your personal and professional mission?
I have always enjoyed teaching and seeing the reaction of people who understand the concept I am teaching. Like Doctorpedia, I want patients to understand the information I am providing them and to know where to find additional – but well vetted – information. I also want patients to understand the limits of treatment for some Neurological disorders but to know there are still many resources to help them improve their quality of life.
What problems do patients face that Doctorpedia can help solve?
Misinformation online that is not edited or put into the correct context. For example, patients sharing their worst experiences with a treatment or medication which may be extremely rare or the treatment was never appropriate for that particular person to begin with. Such information can lead patients to stop their therapy or seek out unproven treatments.
What problems do physicians face that Doctorpedia can help solve?
False claims about unproven treatments can often appear as a top search result, making it appear that such treatments are as effective as those that have undergone rigorous testing. This can lead to financial or physical harm to the patient. Doctorpedia can also help distill the vast information online into easier to understand terms without overwhelming them.
“Like Doctorpedia, I want patients to understand the information I am providing them and to know where to find additional – but well vetted – information.”
What do you think about the health and wellness information and resources available online?
Many of the top search results are direct to consumer advertising and are therefore can be very limited in scope and biased. Foundation websites can be excellent but the information can be buried deep within the website and not accessible. Other sites are too detailed and provide no context, causing unnecessary concern and anxiety about symptoms. Unfortunately, many sites are clearly not reviewed and can contain rare individual experiences or false information.
Steve Schadendorf, MD
Vascular Neurology Specialist
Dr. Schadendorf is a board certified neurologist who specializes in vascular neurology at Bass Medical Group. Dr. Schadendorf is a Founding Medical Partner and Medical Director of the Neuromedicine Channel at Doctorpedia.