Wednesday, July 02, 2008

More on Doctors

I recently visited a CaringBridge site for a little boy whose story I followed briefly. This little boy was a patient at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and over a year ago he passed away. Here is the most recent post by his mom on his site:

The words within his story have moved many people to spread the word about St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University’s medical neglect and death that they caused on our sweet innocent little boy.

I am truly sad for this family. Yet, I can’t imagine spreading the word that St. Louis Children’s Hospital is not a top notch place to take your child for medical care. After all, I travel 3000 miles (round trip) to take my child to see Washington University Physicians at SLCH – who I believe are some of the best doctors in the country. While I may not like the personalities of all of the doctors caring for Jack at SLCH, I am confident that he is getting the best of care there. Yes, doctors make mistakes. But don’t we all? I came to appreciate early on that doctors really are only human – contrary to what some doctors may think and what many patients and their families want to believe. Personality issues aside, I believe that the people who spend years in school and training to become doctors do so because they are good people who genuinely want to help others.

Without question, some doctors can be jerks and in almost all instances where I’ve switched doctors, the issue has not been competence, it’s been personality. But as much as doctors are a thorn in my side, I still have a tremendous amount of respect for all the education and training they go through and the fact that they are willing to take the emotional risk of practicing in a profession that is all about life and death.

This post isn’t about my opinion on this family’s decision to sue SLCH. My child didn’t die while under the care of a doctor at SLCH and I pass no judgment on this family’s actions. However, I really do think it’s tough to be a doctor because people want - and need - for doctors to have all the answers and for them to make everything right. As we know, that’s not always possible and yet, that doesn’t necessarily make it someone’s fault. Sometimes bad things just happen. That said, a doctor can go a long way in gaining understanding and forgiveness when things do go wrong if they have treated their patients and their patients’ families with compassion and kindness.

As I’ve quoted before:

Doctors are human beings who have some information or knowledge that will help our children. Some are very skilled, and many are average. They have strengths and weaknesses. They make mistakes in their work. If we don’t put them on pedestals, we won’t have to knock them off.


Cindy said...

Well said Ann.

Anonymous said...

very insightful. I agree with you.

julie w said...

Very true Ann