Wednesday, May 14, 2008

First visit

Early in my medical career, I was privileged to practice with a wonderful, witty physician who was well known and respected by physicians and patients alike. Much of my philosophy of medicine developed as we worked together.

The son of a prominent gynecologist and the grandson of a prominent Methodist minister, I am sure that Dr. S had his choice of careers. His college major was philosophy. Enjoying both people and science he followed his father's foot steps into medicine. After four years of medical school, a year of research and four years of residency he joined his father's group of obstetrician-gynecologists in private practice. The following is a story that he once told me about a new patient he saw in his first week in the office.

It often falls to the newest doctor in a practice to see the newest patients. Sometimes these patients are the ones with the worst problems. At other times they are simply the patients that will take more time. This was the case one day when the young Dr. S was given the chart of a 15 year old girl brought to the office by her mother for prolonged and heavy vaginal bleeding. The girl's mother was a patient of Dr. S's father.

Dr. S carefully went through the new patient history recording every detail. The young woman was shy but his calm, jovial manner soon had her smiling as the two of them engaged in a conversation about her medical history with her mother present. The young woman stated that she had never had sexual intercourse nor used tampons and at the mention of an examination she seemed very hesitant. Dr. S explained in detail how he would do a pelvic examination to determine the cause of her heavy and prolonged bleeding.

Concluding his explanation, Dr. S ask the young patient if she had any questions. Amazed at the idea of a pelvic examination, which obviously her mother had not explained to her before their arrival, the young woman's face became quizzical. "I just have one question." She leaned over almost as if to whisper so her mother would not hear. "Does your mother know what you do for a living?"

Dr. S, with I am sure a gleam in his eye, leaned a bit closer to her as he whispered back, "I think she must," came his quick reply. "You see my father does the same thing."
First visitSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

No comments: