Sunday, June 17, 2012

I'm No Saint

I want there to be full disclosure.

One may read this blog and start to think that I'm some kind of saint.  And admittedly,  there are those kumbaya moments where I'm hugging patients and high five-ing families.  But this is not the whole story.  There are also other moments when I am admonished for not being sufficiently attentive or castigated for my inabilities.

I've been fired.  Multiple times.  I've been told that I am a horrible doctor and threatened with malpractice.  I've been accused of not caring.  Every time I face these accusations, I try to honestly asses my own performance.  Sometimes I broadly proclaim my innocence, others I sheepishly apologize.  I am certainly not perfect.

As I have written before, the doctor-patient relationship is complicated.  Every day physicians battle a series of hurdles and  impairments.  Did they get enough sleep the night before?  Are they preoccupied with their spouses or children?  Are they feeling under the weather?

Add to this complexity the foibles of relationships and interactions.  Human beings misunderstand each other.  Certain personality types just don't mesh.  Mix in a sprinkling of fear and a dash of stress and what is left is a wick awaiting its flame.

So how do doctors and patients ever truly see each other?  I honestly have no idea.  I can, however, distill my own attempts into a few simple habits.

I begin each relationship with good intentions.

I think deeply about my patients in and out of the office.

I try to learn from each and every mistake.

And I am childishly optimistic in thinking that if I try hard enough,

I will improve over time.


Constantino Santos said...

Saints are not perfect people. What make them saints is not what they accomplish, but the "stuborn" way they try, and try, again and again :) Catholics call that faith ... It´s all about making the Gospel present in all activities whether they be outstanding or humble and hidden. In the eyes of God what matters is the love that is put into work, not its human success. Have a goos week.

John C. Key MD said...

I think that all we can do is the best we can each and every day.

Mark C said...

Saints are known to perform miracles. I guess it depends on how you define a miracle...