Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Family Medicine: God, Please Help Us

The patient sobbed and winced, accurately showing the misery of an untenable relationship violence trap.  The Family Doctor listened, and listened and listened.  No medical therapy could lift the patient back to a "human" from their sub-human prison.

"It's not your fault," the doctor pleaded, "It's not your fault."

He listened as the patient repeated an endless spewing of misery.  The tightness in his chest and upper body echoed the tension in the patient's story.  He allowed his brain to settle into the background, empty of solutions for this human suffering that was pulling him into a pit of despair. No strategy for temporary resolution allowed her to move forward intact.

The clinical decision making skills, insightful differential diagnostic abilities, awareness of clinical guidelines paled in comparison to the patient's need.

"God help her," he prayed silently.  "And help me."

He listened some more.  He waited for Heart to arrive.  Brain could think, but Heart had to connect energetically to Heart.  A transfusion of God's Grace calmed the doctor's Heart into caring mode which linked to the patient's wounded Heart and decompressed some of the tension in the room.  The nearness to death from loss of humanity faded just enough to let the tiniest ray of hope arrive.

"Thank you, God," He thought.

He offered a temporizing medical strategy that may allow a calmer review of options tomorrow.  The patient had enough energy and humanity to agree that another visit tomorrow would be OK with her.

He walked into his office, felt a surge of human emptiness draining him acutely and intensely of emotion.  Back from the abyss of human suffering, he cried.

1 comment:

  1. Protecting the human-patient dyad is undoubtedly the most important thing that can be done in healthcare. When that is accomplished, resources, technology, and compensation can correctly align. What a heart wrenching post.