Thursday, April 5, 2012


One thing that was a little humbling:

I spoke to a doctor once who was really dedicated and clearly cared very deeply about his patients. The doctor was an outpatient physician of a patient of mine who has glioblastoma (glioblastoma = generally horrible prognosis). This doctor had been spending his own time calling everyone in our hospital to try to get the patient chemo or radiation. He told me today: "Don't send the patient to hospice without calling me first! Don't!"

Personally, I don't think hospice is such a horrible thing and it's something that's very underutilized in this country. But that's besides the point. The point was that I was impressed by how much that physician clearly cared about his patients. I wish I could be as dedicated as that doctor.


  1. What stops you from being so dedicated?

  2. There is only so much to go around and when you have dozens if not hundreds of recurring patients attempting to care that deeply about all of them would burn me out.

  3. My favorite cardiac surgeon was exactly like that. Little old ladies positively blushed as he sat next to them and talked to them as a friend first, a patient second. He was both compassionate and brilliant. (he cracked a pt's chest at bedside on my med surg floor to perform open cardiac massage on a pt. who recently had CABGx4.. the patient lived.)
    The hospital fired him and let a cocky young gun take over his program. Him being let go was a big reason why I left that floor. The culture totally changed without him.

  4. I could see that -- I don't think he's that dedicated to all his patients (there's only so far you can go for patients with IBS or fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, etc), but some patients get to you and your physician instincts just kick in. you want to fix whatever they have. For me, it's usually patients with 1) a legitimate medical issue, 2) that is somehow at least theoretically reversible/treatable, and 3) the patient is otherwise healthy/younger/functional, and 4) nice. Nice is important. I will always do my job in treating all patients, regardless of who they are, but I don't really go above and beyond the call of duty for mean patients with questionable medical problems.

  5. At least you want to be more dedicated. :)