Thursday, September 27, 2012
In The Midst Of Tragedy
You tread lightly. You spend extra time teasing out the symptoms. You explain each diagnostic test and medication. Days or years go by. Usually they get better, sometimes they don't. But eventually tragedy ensues.
And you're calling your colleague or friend in the middle of the night. You don't mince words, you tell them the end is near. Physician to physician, friend to friend, there must be a level of truth and certainty.
The appropriate orders are written. Morphine and ativan. Hopefully you can avoid the IV's and diagnostic tests. While looking into the teary eyes of the family you again question whether you should have gotten involved.
The truth is, you will honor your friendship. You will bath their relative in a cocoon of loving care. Because you owe at least that much. Because you will do it better than others. Because you will be there to comfort and explain patiently in the midst of tragedy.
We do these things for acquaintances.
In fact, we do these things for complete strangers also. Every patient eventually becomes like family. We care for them as if their sons and daughters were our best friends. We shower them with the best we have to offer because that is the covenant we make when we usher them through our exam room doors.
It's an intimate relationship between doctor and patient.
Even more intimate than with friends and colleagues.
Posted by Jordan Grumet at 6:56 AM