Sunday, April 06, 2008

Doctors Are Human After All

People always expect that doctors practice what we are preaching and therefore it is imperative for us to be healthy all the time. It is a common thinking of many that doctors have no right to be ill, that is why sometimes they forget that doctors are human too. That we are susceptible to all the diseases and maladies like everyone else. That we also inherit defective genes. That we also feel the pain, physical or emotional it may be.

I am no exception to the rule. I became a patient too. I suffered an episode of TIA when I was a second year Pediatric Resident and was confined in the ICU for days. I can't forget being glued to my bed because I was ordered CBR without bathroom privileges. Can you imagine yourself urinating and defecating while lying supine? Hard isn't it? Whew! I went through all of that. Not to mention all the needlesticks from blood exams and IV insertion... Ouch! that hurt. And what about your vital signs being monitored by the hour??? I hope you can imagine how sleepless my nights were during that time. But what is more difficult for us doctors when we become ill is the mental torture we have to endure, because we actually know what is really happening to our system. We know the severity and prognosis of our own sickness. We do not need our "attending physician's" litany of words and false hopes so to speak, for us to know what is really wrong with our body.

Empathy for patients is a very important for us doctors. We should almost always put ourselves in our patients' shoes to be able to understand them more. It will be easier for us to do that if we actually had experienced being one. So the next time we order serial blood tests or nil bathroom privileges, think again and go easy. Patients, like us doctors are human as well.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a good experience for you. I had a similar episode also during my second year of residency. Hospitalized for 2 weeks and forced to have another 2 weeks recuperation at home.

It is a grace from God as we develop our care and empathy for our patients.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Abner M. Hornedo, M.D. said...

scary isn't it?

9:23 PM  
Blogger MerryCherry, MD said...

Totally agree with the empathy :)

10:51 PM  
Blogger Abner M. Hornedo, M.D. said...

thanks merrycherry! ;)

6:08 PM  
Blogger Ness said...

hello abner,

would like to invite you to TBR 5! the theme for next week is "I know what you did last summer!"

hope you can share with us some of your memorable summer adventure.


3:15 AM  

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