Friday, March 8, 2013

"A doctor like you is rare to find"

"A doctor like you is rare to find. And I am so lucky to have found you"
Well, this is what my patient told me today morning. And it made my day!

Now I certainly don't say that I am a great doctor or I did something great but do read below to know how it all happened and what I learned from my own experience!

Mr. R is a 40 year old agricultural worker who attended the medicine OPD, three days back. That was when I first met him. He had come for some stomach pain. When I saw him, I felt he was a little obese and gave him a sugar test and a lipid profile as a part of my screening.
And yes, the tests proved him to have diabetes and high cholesterol levels. And that is how he became a part of my thesis.

I took him to the Clinical Pharmacology Lab. I showed him the test reports and explained it to him. I told him he requires medications. I carefully explained the cardiopulmonary exercise testing that I was about to perform on him. After getting his consent to participate in the study, I performed the test on him. After the test was over, I handed over the medicines to him and provided the necessary instructions. I also referred him to other departments for baseline investigations.

When I did all these, I was genuinely interested in the well being of my patient.  Also, I had enough time to spend with him. It took me around 45 minutes for the counselling and performing the test.

When it was time for the patient to leave, he spoke to me.  (Until then, he was just listening to whatever I said.) He spoke to me about a keloid on his chest which bothered him. He has had intra-lesional injections when it grew larger and antibiotics when it ulcerated and got infected in the past. But he was neither informed about the disease nor of its treatment or prognosis.

I was about to leave to the OPD and I was in a hurry. But strangely, when he started speaking, I could sense the anxiety in his tone. So I stopped there and listened to him. I simply listened without speaking back. He spoke to me about how it appeared, how he got treated at various places, how it embarrassed him, how it troubled him, how it gave him pain, what other people told him, etc. etc. After listening to everything he had to say, I made him understand about keloids and gave practical tips to deal with it. Seeing him get relieved, I reminded him about his diabetic medications & life style modifications (because I felt he would remember much better now as he was relieved now of what was troubling him).

And when he was about to leave, he said: "A doctor like you is rare to find. And I am so lucky to have found you. Thank you, doctor"

I did not do anything heroic! I did not give CPR and save a dying soul. I did not operate and resect a large tumor from a highly vascular bed. I did not see hundred patients and prescribe them medicines. I made a simple impact in the life of a patient and in my best capacity and I did it well. That satisfies me. However, as I ponder as to what made him say those words that brought me  joy, I find certain conclusions.

A genuine interest and a listening ear which I offered the patient, impressed him the most. Not my skill. Not my educational qualification.

However his phrase: "rare to find" makes me wonder!

Dear friends,

Cure sometimes, 
treat often, 
comfort always.