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.