Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Doctors with Compassion

What a great breakfast i had today. I am from duty and i fed on our chairman's famous expressions and emotional outburst. Well, not just me actually but all of us in the department had a share of it. What a surprise it was for all of us. Our chairman came to the office early in the morning to deliver his quotable quotes complete with all the bleeep.....bleeep..... and bleeeep.

The last time i saw him so furious was about 2 years ago. It was our first day in the department as post graduate interns. I was wondering what caused all of those bleeep and bleeep to spill from his gray matter. We later found out that he didnt have had a goodnight sleep the night before. Of course, we knew it after he has mellowed down. Our chairman's like a pendulum you know. He could be furious for a couple of minutes and be as warm and as dear as a father once he cools down.

Fact is, he couldnt sleep after witnessing something in the wards. He was very much affected by the death of one of our patients and was very much disturbed by the reaction of one of my co-residents. Sad to observe that there really are some colleagues of mine who become so detached from their patients that they almost forget to emphatize. Some become calloused, insensitive and too mechanical that there seems to be a barrier between him and his patients. What's worse however if this attitude starts only a year after one become a full-fledged doctor. A doctor with brains but with no heart.

Here's this man however, so successful in his chosen profession, strengthened and hardened by the system, dreaded by the interns and residents, respected by his peers, been in this profession for decades, who showed me what a good and authentic doctor should really be like. He might have fed us with all his bleep....bleep early morning today, but he fed my heart with something to blog about.

I was once again reminded not to lose that compassion. The character that makes us doctors different from the others if i might quote him. I remembered how i got so affected by my patients' death when i started residency training. I remembered too however how i become numbed at times for being too detached, in order to prevent myself from feeling something awful about myself and my patient's death.

It is not an excuse for us just because we are toxic with work not to feel something for our patients. It is not an excuse too not feel for our patient's family. I believe that in all the residency trainings here in town, we are the ones who are very much challenged. We get to face patients and their families who are illiterate and who, pardon my words, really didnt have manners. We get to treat patients who are penniless, with nothing but sickness. The challenge of treating the patients' sickness and getting along well with their families is a big feat for us everyday.

Challenged we may be everyday, but we are just too blessed to have one great mentor with us. Someone who never fails to remind us to keep that compassion and spirit of service alive. Someone who never fails to show us what an ideal and compassionate doctor really is.

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