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.