Monday, March 28, 2011
There is always more than one patient
I had just finished a case and went to talk to the family. When I got back, one of the residents asked what took so long. I paused and then thought a bit and tried to explain. I told him that the person that went to the recovery room was not the only patient. While we were operating and dictating, someone is sitting in the waiting room worrying. There the clock seems to stand still. They are worried about their loved one, worse, they are helpless to do anything. Every time the phone rings, they jump. When the surgery is over, they have to face the news of what was found and what happened. Is there cancer? Are they going to be OK? What happens next? The person that had the operation is still asleep. The family and friends have to face the news wide awake. They are your patients too. Time and answers to their questions are the medicine that they need. Surgery takes as long as it takes, so does meeting with the family and friends.