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When you die, doctor…

Paging Dr. Mortis, Dr. Rigor Mortis!

Paging Dr. Mortis, Dr. Rigor Mortis!

This is a sample section from a new book I’m writing on the transition from residency to practice.

When you die:

A) The house of medicine will collapse, and only recover by remembering your compassion and sacrifice.

B) Patients and staff will wail in sack-cloth and ashes

C) Someone may name a procedure or drug in your honor

D) People will walk over your dead body, take your vacant day-shifts and go through your pockets for change.

The answer is D. Although I’m using some hyperbole, the point is that when you die, some people will be sad; your loved ones will miss you. But life will go on. The hospital will not close, and the sick will not stop being sick. So conduct your life with this in mind. Medicine, for all it’s wonder and value, must not be a rock on which you wreck yourself. Let it enhance, not overwhelm, your life.

Do not allow medicine to be the reason you live, or the thing by which you invariably and solely define yourself. Let it make you more human and more Godly, more wise, more loving and capable. Let it insinuate you into the lives of the suffering, to bring them help and comfort. Let it make you proud, and serve as an example of caring and hard work to your children and students. Let the money you make improve your family’s plight, allow you to travel, enjoy time together, be healthy and educated.

But NEVER sacrifice your joy, or your family, on the altar of medicine.  And never let medicine be the reason you live. It will never be enough. If you meet an angry doctor, remember that in all likelihood, he or shee believed medicine was enough.

And they found out, too late, that they were wrong.

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Edwin

19 Comments

Albinoblackbear

2010-02-14 06:02:11 Reply

I have been taught this lesson by nurse and physician mentors who were kind enough to take me under their wings.

Thank you for the reminder. Beautiful post.

mamadoc

2010-02-14 20:37:56 Reply

As someone else (can’t remember who, it may have been in Kill as Few Patients as Possible)said, “if you think you’re indispensible, try checking your appointment book two weeks after you’re dead.”

whitecap nurse

2010-02-14 22:20:58 Reply

This is true for anyone in any profession. Always put your family first!

grateful patient

2010-02-15 19:35:33 Reply

I’m a patient, and I can assure you that (B) would be true if any of my doctors died. I would certainly wail and mourn them for a very long time. I don’t want them to sacrifice too much for my sake, but they are indeed irreplaceable as far as I’m concerned.

Deacon Dick

2010-02-16 08:07:59 Reply

Oh, how true, doctor. Why do we have a “drugstore” on every corner, if only to show our misguided belief in ,”drugs” being our savior. Oh, have a nice day!

David

2011-09-24 11:21:22 Reply

Such a wonderful text! No idea how you managed to write this article..it’d take me long hours. Well worth it though, I’d suspect. Have you considered selling banners on your website?

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2012-01-15 07:26:04 Reply

Oh, a great piece of text! I have no clue how you were able to write this article..it’d take me long hours. Well worth it though, I’d suspect. Have you considered selling banners on your website?

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