August 15, 2015

Every morning I come home from work strung out on adrenaline and caffeine thinking to myself, it's astounding how much I can learn in just one night. And every evening I drag myself back to the hospital and a different patient comes along that makes me think to myself, I don't know jack shit.


Cary Reams said...

and in that kind of environment, its amazing how many in your profession become arrogant "know it alls."

My wife's mother had to listen to too many docs (at least three, to my knowledge) barge into her husband's hospital room (west nile with complications from diabetes) and pronounce he would never get any better. Its been a year. He's still with us and making improvement. He celebrated his 77th birthday yesterday. He's not recovered 100% and its not likely that he will (I'm convinced a rehab hospital mis-managed his diabetes, resulting in his loss of eyesight - but I'm not degreed, so my opinion isnt worth jack).

Dealing with unknown unknowns is part of the job. Some of these jokers decided to make up what they didn't know. And its likely that their attention span waned since he wasn't "curable" in their minds. They gave up. They were un-interested. Barge in, sign in a form, make a declaration, rush out.

It was only the nurses that made those days bearable. Those are the angles that roam the halls of the hospital. They are likely invisible to most of the MDs - just as invisible as my father in law.

dont ever lose your humility.

Isaac van Sligtenhorst, MD said...

I'm sorry for your experience. I wish I could say it was an exception but sadly, it's not.

I've been working over in my mind for awhile on how to write a post on this topic because it's not just about keeping your humility, it's about keeping your humanity, as well. When you truly have compassion for a patient, you don't treat them like this.

Cary Reams said...

Thanks, but no need to apologize. Thoughtlessness exists in many professions. Just stings more acutely in some phases of life.

Isaac van Sligtenhorst, MD said...

Part of my theory of why we have so many bad docs is the training and whom it rewards. We're rewarded for good test taking skills. Plain and simple. Nuanced answers and shades of grey do not fit into that paradigm. Nor does not knowing. You guess. I think most docs have trouble ever leaving that identity behind. They had to know the answer for the test, even if wrong. So they do the same in the room with the patient. Only the good ones say, "we don't know" or "we just don't know enough about the disease" or "I'm not sure". Those are viewed as signs of weakness or incompetence.