Friday, May 4, 2012


Female doctors are a force to reckon with - one can't help but admire the way they balance their medical practice with their family life.

The ease with which they go about their duties makes it hard to believe they also have a husband and kids at home who demand even more of their attention.

They are usually calm, patient and fully composed when dealing with their patients.

But what happens when the patient is their husband? Do they remain cool, calm and composed? Let me tell you of my experience with Dr Dee.

Dr Dee (not real name), was very distraught; from the moment she rushed into the ER that night, I knew I would not have any peace.

She brought in her husband who had developed episodes of breathlessness at work. From the commotion she caused, I thought her husband was dying - she was hardly able to stand or sit still; with a worried look on her face, she kept patting her husband and whispering endearments.

As I attended to him, she never stopped pacing and asking me questions about what I thought, and what management I would give. She cross checked everything I did for her precious husband that I soon became irritated, I struggled to keep myself from screaming, "WILL YOU JUST SHUT UP AND GET OUT!"

Then - the straw that broke the back of the camel - she sat on my chair! My precious chair! My only island of solitude amidst the chaos that is the ER. Oh what effrontery! What blatant disrespect! She had defiled my sanctuary - surely, this was a call to war. I had had enough.

I considered my options, the least of which was to walk away leaving her there to treat her precious husband.

I wondered if she was so empathic when dealing with her patients, whether she ran at the speed of light to attend to any emergency brought to her, whether she checked and double checked if the right management was being given to her patients. I didn't think so.

I also wondered if it would benefit our patients more if we treat them as though they are our loved ones and stopped being so aloof and un-emotional.

Would it somehow compromise the level of care we give them if we become more empathic?

What is your take on this?

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