MRMAULION’S MAR [15-02]: Strengthening My Faith Through a Patient’s Thoughtfulness

MEDICAL ANECDOTAL REPORT
Indexing Title: MRMAULION’S MAR [15-02]
MAR Title: Strengthening My Faith Through a Patient’s Thoughtfulness
Date Of Medical Observation: February 2015
Tag: Strengthening my faith due to my encounter with my former patient
Category: Professional/Ethical/Reinforcement

NARRATION:
It was late in the afternoon and I was busy at emergency room flushing up a patient with a gaping laceration on his left leg when my fellow resident came up to me. He said that I have a patient who has been looking for me. I asked if the patient could wait for a while and will attend to her as soon as I am done suturing. I caught a glimpse of the patient. She was not familiar to me. I saw her looking at me with a big smile on her face. After a few more minutes, I was done with my task and walked towards the patient waiting for me in a corner. I smiled back at her and asked her what I can do for her. She came closer and saw the confusion in my face. She said, “Doktor, hindi na po ninyo ako natatandaan, pero kayo po hindi ko makakalimutan. Tinulungan ninyo po akong maoperahan dalawang taon na ang nakakaraan.” (Doctor, you do not remember me, but I will never forget you. You helped me to be operated on two years ago.) She recounted our first meeting at the Surgery Out-Patient Department. She said that she used to have a large mass on her neck and she wanted to be operated on. She had little money at that time and she cannot undergo the clearances due to laboratory workups that were needed. She said that I even lent her money for her work up and took care of her needs during her hospital stay. She said, “Dahil sa ginawa mo doktora, lagi kita pinagdadasal. Dahil sa tulong na ginawa mo sa akin, sinewerte ako sa negosyo, gumanda ang buhay namin.” (Because of what you did, I have always prayed for you. Because of your help, I became lucky and our life changed for the better.) She handed me a medium sized religious figure of Jesus. She told me that she knows being a doctor was never easy and that I will still undergo many trials but I should always pray and have faith that everything I will do is for the good of the patient. I was surprised to everything she said. She continued her success story for a while and later bid me her goodbye.
 
INSIGHT:
(Physical, Professional/Ethical, Psychosocial)
(Discovery, Stimulus, Reinforcement)
To be a doctor, one must undergo series of trials and experience many miseries. One must be able to overcome all the hurdles that will his or her way. One must be physical, mentally and emotionally fit to be a doctor. To be a doctor is never easy and sometimes, on our journey to being one, we lose our values that are important. Being bombarded with scientific knowledge and clinical studies, we sometimes lose our touch to humanity and lose our faith. Maybe that is why some preachers say that doctors do not have enough faith. With my encounter with this patient, whom I forgot, reminded me that the patients that we see and treat, place their faith and their lives on our hands. At that time, I never thought that this patient will have faith in me and I felt that I was just doing my job to help my patient for her to complete her laboratory examinations, complete her clearances and help her undergo the operation. I felt that I was just doing what I was trained to do like I was in auto-pilot mode. This patient has made me realized that what we do as doctors are more than just a job. Patients put their faith in us that he or she will get better and that is a tough job description which requires not only our knowledge and skills but also our faith that we will be able to heal them and help them.
Along the way, as doctors, we tend to be superior to other people, as we are capable of treating the sick and curing the ill, especially, in the field of surgery, wherein people’s lives are in our hands. We often place the credit only to ourselves. We often forget that there is a Higher Being that gave us what we can do. We are blessed to have the ability to study medicine, perform and apply medicine to heal people.  We must never forget despite all the troubles that we go through just to be a doctor, our values to be committed and compassionate in helping and healing our patients. For there are many reasons one wanted to be a doctor, but at the end of the line, it is still the patient who is our priority, who is our reason that we wanted to be a doctor and this patient place his or her faith us. I believe that we must always strengthen our faith so we can perform our duty in healing our patients. I believe that patient’s lives are not in hands and we can only do as much, hence we must always ask for guidance as said by the Surgeon’s Prayer of Dr. Joson, “Dear God, these fragile hands that cut the flesh steady them as if at rest. Bless this patient yours and mine whose very life is your design. Almighty God I do pray guide my hand as I work today. Amen.”  
ROJoson’s Notes (16dec30):
“We often place the credit only to ourselves. We often forget that there is a Higher Being that gave us what we can do.” Dr. Maullion
When surgeons encounter patients whom they cannot cure, they should also be reminded of the hand of the Higher Being.
As Filipino patients always tell the surgeons or physicians, God is first and you, doctors, are second (in our trust).
Physicians and Surgeons:
Trust in God.  Do the best that you can.  You can only do so much.  There is a limit to your capability.  As the saying goes, “cure sometimes, relieve often, comfort always.”
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