Monthly Archives: June 2017

On being a doctor and being human

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We are trying.

As physicians, we are taught a certain way. We go to medical school, and go through residency training for most of our young adult life to be able to treat patients in the most scientifically proven way possible. We do this with tremendous empathy, compassion, and thought. We work incredibly hard to learn the science behind the medicine. We try to base our treatments on proven methods which in western or conventional medicine ideally are randomized, double blinded, placebo controlled trials. This means you remove bias and personal experience from the equation. Homeopathic and other alternative medicine, do not base their knowledge and treatments on similar rigorously proven scientific methods. I do believe there is a role and a place for certain types of alternative medicine (acupuncture, chiropractic, naturopathic, to name a few); but it should be complementary to, and not in disagreement with your medical school educated, residency trained, board certified physicians.
If I have a urine infection, I want an internist to prescribe me an antibiotic. If I have breast cancer, I want an oncologist to walk me through the steps and proven methodology of treatment. And if I’m pregnant, I want an obstetrician to deliver my baby. I know the statistics on maternal fetal death during labor, and it’s not worth it to not have an obstetrician at my side. Would I undergo acupuncture to help with the pain of cancer? Sure. Would I employ a midwife and/or doula to aid in my delivery? Perhaps. But would I do any of this without my physicians primarily driving my treatment? No.
Do we physicians have all the answers? No.
Do we make mistakes? Yes. We are human.
Is medicine black and white? I wish. There is so much we don’t know, and don’t understand about medicine. It is an insanely challenging, complex field that is changing daily. What we learned in medical school has changed by the time we get to residency and changed again 10 years into practice. It (frustratingly, I understand) may take many doctors visits before we find the answer for you.
But we are trying our best.
We have stressful jobs. I make important, split second decisions everyday at work. And many times I go home and worry if I’ve done everything right. I worry if my patients are ok. And this is because I’m human.
We are taking care of the most important person on this planet: you; your mother; your father; your sibling; your child. We are not all bad. In fact, most physicians that I know and work with are the most intelligent, compassionate, empathetic group of humans I know. We are trying our best to take the utmost care of you.
Thanks for listening.
And please, for the love of all things on this planet, please vaccinate your children. On schedule. That is all.
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