Tuesday, March 06, 2012

When Bad Things Happen

I love having the honor of sharing so much in my patients' lives. When they get married. Have babies. When their thyroid cancer is in remission, or when they've done a great job controlling their diabetes. It really is a priviledge, something not all jobs offer.
However one thing I continue to struggle with is when things go bad. Because, you're dealing with people's health here.
When you find horrible multi-level metastasis.
Or when they develope a tragic cerebral thrombosis during surgery.
Or when they suffered a car accident related to hypoglycemia from insulin overdose.
Or when they develop a major adverse effect of a medication you prescribed.

I don't know how my other colleagues deal with this. I'm not sure if this happens only to me; but when things go wrong, it hits me at a very personal level. It gets me wondering if I should have prescribed something else, or explained things better to a patient, or advised better, or referred to a different surgery or radiologist. I wonder if there is anything I could have done to have prevented it. I spent weeks thinking about the case.
They say that everyone has something that keeps them up at night. Well, when bad things happen to my patients, this is the thing that keeps me up at 3 AM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your attitude...you are sure a caring doctor....if you are in KL I will make you my family doctor. You care enough to be trouble and it is an amicable thing. It is rare to see such attitude in people nowadays. What more from a medical dr that cares...keep it up you will surely be rewarded in some other ways. However some bad things has no solutions....even if we have tried our very best...that is facts of life.

7:11 AM  
Blogger vagus said...

Caring only sometimes makes the work more difficult. I honestly feel that this has aged me significantly in the last 4 years and admittedly I've had my moments when I ask if it is worth it. Thankfully those are far and few.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous dancingbunny said...

Incidentally, I was visiting my dermatologist for a review on my auto immune skin problems when I mentioned that walking into the vet clinic triggered some allergies reactions.

Knowing that I used to work as a vet tech in animal research labs, my dermatologist was surprised that I am able to perform euthanasia on animals when I am actually a pet lover. To which, I replied "Professionalism". I guessed despite being able to separate work and personal emotions is neccessary for my work. Just like for doctors. Except its harder. doctors need to have compassion without too much emotions. There is so much healthcare professionals can do when we cannot really "play god". We just have to let it go when things are beyond our control. I think you done great.

12:18 AM  

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