Tuesday, August 17, 2010


As I have alluded to before, most physicians do not practice medicine because we love people and hate money. After endless years of training, we spend countless hours working for the best possible outcomes for our patients because we crave approval. First we sought the approval of our parents, then our teachers, and now it is the approval of our patients. "Thank you!" sincerely spoken goes along way with most of us. A note or a card will likely be kept in a special place for years.

Perhaps you can imagine how devastating it is to have a patient who is dissatisfied. Three days ago I took a young woman to surgery after she had a Cesarean section at another hospital. On arrival to our emergency room she was hemorrhaging internally as well as vaginally and also out of her abdominal skin incision. Only her first baby, I was afraid I would have to do a hysterectomy to save her life.

Now that we are three days out from this crisis and the patient is getting better, with the aid of surgery, blood transfusions, and IV antibiotics, I am more optimistic. And, I was hoping for a grateful patient. Alas, she is tired, sore, and angry. Some of this is to be expected. The father of the baby is miles away, driving his truck. Her family consists of an 18 year old male cousin, who tells me he needs to learn about babies because his girlfriend is pregnant. He has been sleeping in her room because the hospital requires a responsible party be present to care for the baby.

Continuing to do the best that I can to provide good medical care, I am reminding myself that healing of my patient is reward enough.
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