October 17, 2014

fruits of labor


     In a hurry, I sat down at a nursing station to grab a computer.  I needed to see if the final read of Mr. Smith's chest CT was up and if the immunology blood work up on Mrs. Jones was completed.  Instead I was interrupted by a nurse.  She stated, "Mrs. Evans in Room 2112 says that you're the best doctor she's ever had.  She says that you were the first one that ever sat down and actually listened to her."

6 comments:

ZARZAND said...

( : Why are we all not surprised? Let it make you feel good Doc. Let is sink in and revel in it.

Steve Parker, M.D. said...

And I wouldn't be surprise if she's had about a hundred doctors.

Cary Reams said...

That's the "care-giver" side of being a doc. Grossly under-practiced.

My wife's father has been recovering from neurologically invasive West Nile Virus since July 22. Still in a re-hab facility. More than once, some doc has dropped in to review his charts, tersely proclaimed "he may never get better than this" and walked out of the room. No discussion. No explanation. Just a prediction and a fast exit.

His wife hasn't slept at home since he entered the hospital; choosing instead to be at his bedside. Every. Night.

Nothing like drive-by doom and gloom to suck the life and hope of out of the place. To be clear. It wasn't a consultation. There was no two-way conversation.

Fortunately, this so-called expert was wrong. He has continued to improve. He has his recovered motor skills, speech, and long term memory. He continues to make strides, however small.

Worse than being callous and hopeless, they were just plain wrong. There was no more certainty around their pessimistic declaration than there would have been regarding a recovery.

All that emotional damage. All that pain. With no justification whatsoever.

Print your blog entry. Make copies. Laminate them. Affix one to your badge every time you change jobs. Read it every morning before you get out of car.

Isaac Van Sligtenhorst said...

Cary, I'd like to say your father-in-law's case is the exception to the rule but sadly it's the norm. I find myself apologizing for others in my profession far too often. I hope those doctors continue to be very, very wrong.

If your wife is inclined, it may be worthwhile getting patient advocacy involved. At some hospitals they are strong. At others they are a rubber stamp for the doc. Kind of hit or miss. Chaplains tend to help be that bridge between medicine and humanity as well. They aren't just there to pray and leave.

Isaac Van Sligtenhorst said...

And Steve, she was 86 so, yeah, she had lost faith in doctors decades ago. I hate our profession's lack of humanity.

Cary Reams said...

Isaac, no need, man. The profession is fine. Some of the people aren't well-suited for it. Some of them need people-people to walk around with them and interpret the real world for them.

Thanks for the patient advocacy idea. I will try to gently work that into a conversation.