Here’s Who This Doc is Loyal To

         God and family are at the top of the list of course, but today I am talking about loyalty as a doctor.  Who is the doctor loyal to?

        This will be a very short post, because it is a very short answer: it is the patient. 

        For the most part, I am what I seem; a simple country doctor who plays the mandolin and whose idea of a big night on the town is to take his wife to a bluegrass show.  There have only been a few people I went to war with over the years. 

        It was over the same issue every time.  If anyone stepped on the rights of my patient, I became a beast.  If they were rude or disrespectful to them, it made no difference to me who they were, I found a politically correct way to insure they wound up out of the loop.  I have worked with the same nurses for twenty-five years, and they would be the first to tell you not to step in between me and my patient any more than you’d crawl into a bear’s den and tell a grizzly how to raise her young’un.  

      My patients are my boss.  I live to serve them.  When I read doctor books, it is with them in mind.  To an outsider, the intensity of these relationships is near impossible to understand. 

        The reason I play the mandolin is so I won’t burn up inside.   My advice to people who want to understand my mind on this is to go the medical school and spent a hundred hours a week for a decade to come to grips with some small fraction of the complexity of the human doctor/patient relationship, and stick with it a few decades until you understand how little you still know.  Then we can talk about it.  Otherwise, I would advise people to not get in between me and my patient.

Dr. B

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4 Comments on “Here’s Who This Doc is Loyal To”

  1. newt221 Says:

    I understand where you are coming from Dr. B. Right now, the Vets are my boss. Some times they make it hard to remember that. (Just like I am sure some of your patients try you.) But, I know they rely on me to get them prepared for the day and what is ahead. Usually I am the one talking to the client. (Who is also my boss…) I have the relay the messages between the two. After a year, I am doing loads better than I was. As one of my bosses said, I am learning in one year what it took them years to learn.

    • drtombibey Says:


      My best people always put the patients first. We can all be replaced but they are as near indispensible as anyone can get. My guess is you serve with the Vet the same way.

      People who are hungry to learn will learn fast. The ones who want to show off can’t be helped no matter how long they hang around.

      Dr. B

  2. Sharon Says:

    Dr B, your night on the town sounds divine. At the moment mine is getting through a meal without throwing up. My boss is the baby I’m carrying. She/he grows, I serve. I don’t mind, every day is a special day when you’re cradling new life.

    • drtombibey Says:


      We had a bit of a hard time with the empty nest. One night we were out at a show. It was John Cowan, one of my daughter’s favorites.

      My wife called my daughter on her cell and put the phone up in the air so she could hear the music.

      When my wife put the phone to her ear, my daughter said, “Mama, where are you two? I’ve been looking all over for you!”

      We decided we had turned the corner.

      Dr. B

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