Sunday, November 06, 2005

Shattered trust ...

Today, a friend poured her heart out to me. She told me that she had undergone major surgery only two weeks earlier, and had the most terrifying experience.

What she related to me left me sick at heart, because it was one of those things that terrifies anyone who's ever been seriously ill, and had to rely on physicians for their very lives. Not only that - but to my absolute and most profound horror - the doctor she was talking about is a friend of mine.

I can't go into details, in case anyone who knows who I am ever comes to this blog. I'm friends with several doctors - but it would still be relatively easy to narrow down which one it is if I went into detail.

I'm an avid defender of physicians. They're expected to be perfect, to never make a mistake, to always be at their very best, to never overlook a single detail, to fill in all the blanks we deliberately don't let them in on, to treat us in spite of the fact that we often don't even follow the simplest of their directions. If they make a mistake - they end up being barred, humiliated, prevented from practicing their profession. They're never allowed to have family problems, headaches, belly aches, bad days ... or just be too tired to deal with anything. We expect them to be on tap for us 24/7. We forget - they are *people!* They are just people.

That said, I don't care what job a person has, whether they're surgeons, or pizza delivery boys - arrogance is never an option. There's never a reason for a physician to beat a patient over the head with medical arrogance. And if that arrogance includes a decision that could be life-threatening to a patient, then it borders on criminal.

The person involved in this is a man that I've held in deep respect since the day I met him. I've always considered him to be a spiritual, gentle person. I've been friends with his mother, and even roomed with her on a trip we took together.

To say the least, the information took my breath away - and left me feeling disillusioned, disappointed ... and frightened. It frightened me that only this week, I wrote that although I only knew him as a friend, that I would trust this man with my life as a doctor.

Ah Lord ... to remember that we all just people. Each and every one of us.


Nov. 7, 2005 - Monday

Today, I spoke with another friend who is a physician. I told him about the above situation, and asked him for his professional opinion. This is what he told me:

The physician was in the right with his decisions, if not with his manner of expressing them. At no time was my friend in any danger. It appears that it was a case of serious miscommunication ... and perhaps even a bit of hysteria. It still doesn't excuse my physician friend from having let things get so badly out of hand ...

My other physician friend said that he would dearly love to have heard the conversation to see how it all happened - so would I.

I still won't be able to put this completely to rest ... but at least my heart is more peaceful when I consider the information.


Nov. 8, 2005 - Tuesday

As a cap to this blog entry, I'd like to post the following link, and encougage everyone to read it. This was posted by a physician, a surgeon ... and it touched me very deeply. Although I already see my own physicians as people first, and doctors second, this has helped translate the concept from the realm of knowledge to the realm of realization.

Dr. Bob: That Terrible Power


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