Medliorate

Improving medical students

How do Doctors Heal?

Posted by medliorator on September 7, 2008

One of my friends lost a patient some time ago… It was the kind of case every anesthesiologist hopes never to have to face.  Unfortunately, it’s also the kind of situation that comes to every anesthesiologist’s table sooner or later, regardless of his or her skill and experience. My anesthesiologist friend asked me a very thought-provoking question after he told me about his experience… “Are you willing to continue in a career knowing that this will happen to you someday, if it hasn’t already, and you’re going to have to deal with it and live with it and not give in to grief and self-doubt afterward? Do you love this work and believe in yourself enough to keep going? Because if you don’t, you need to get out now while you can.”

Doctors grieve. Doctors shed tears, seen and unseen, over patients, for many different reasons – at least, the ones who care do. I know this to be true. Seen it. Done it. But doctors also can’t be debilitated by grief or doubt or regret for too long. Other lives hang in the balance. The question is, how do doctors heal?

Losing Patients [Notes of an Anesthesioboist]

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