MBVELEZ’S MAR [15-03]:A Help Beyond What Was Asked For

Medical Anecdotal Report
Indexing Title: MBVELEZ’S MAR [15-03]
MAR Title: A Help Beyond What Was Asked For
Date of Medical Observation: February 2015
Tag: Extending help beyond a patient’s reason of consult
Category: Psychosocial – Reinforcement
 
NARRATION:
 
We were on duty at the emergency room when an odd-looking woman carrying a child approached our table. She was whining about an allegedly unacceptable incident that happened to her family. She told us that she suffered so much emotional pain from a series of violent commotions from a neighbor. She wanted to complain to a Police Station regarding the incident and was asking us for a medico-legal assessment. I asked one of our female clerks to accompany me during her physical examination.
Upon inspection, we noted no external signs of immediate physical injuries on her as well as her child. However, I saw a healing wound on her left shoulder, so I asked her where it came from. She said that she acquired such injury a week ago due to an abrasion when they experienced a dreadful heart-breaking story. A disastrous fire incident happened in their place, and unfortunately, her home was one of those involved, and nothing was left of them. I tried my best to be as professional as possible and hid how much my heart sank from their tragic loss.
We then finished assessing her, dressed her wounds and gave her a medical certificate. I then thought again of what my purpose in this hospital was, and remembered of the fire of passion and help for others that always burned inside me. I then asked them to stay for a little while even after getting what they went for. I went immediately to our pharmacy, asked for a few of our hospital’s supplies of vitamins and supplements, as well as a few analgesic and anti-pyretic medications. Moreover, I asked them to meet me again at the hospital the following day, and I then gave them a bunch of clothing that I was not using anymore, which I was not able to donate during the previous Christmas season. A genuine smile and happiness showed from their faces, which definitely connected to me and caused a similar smile and happiness in my heart.
 
INSIGHT:

(Physical, Professional/Ethical, Psychosocial)
(Discovery, Stimulus, Reinforcement)
 
We as surgeons, with great confidence, heal with our hands. But when patients’ conditions aren’t limited to their physical status alone, when their wounds, illnesses and scars run deeper than where our hands could go, how could we reach out and heal?
Holistic is underrated these days. But it is what we should all aim for, every day. “Where does it hurt? When did it start to hurt? Why does it hurt? How much does it hurt?” There’s just too much ‘hurt’ word. ‘Hurt’ is why we are all here. It is what our profession is about – to make some or most, if not all, of the hurt to go away.
There comes times that we get so much loaded with work and we tend to be unable to notice additional needs of other patients. At the Emergency Room, we learn to prioritize which patients need immediate and more attention, and there is nothing wrong with it, for as far as our specialization is concerned, we are able to save lives even in the nick of time. But as what our mentors are always telling us, being a holistic surgeon should most of the time apply to our daily duties. Even patients who are just asking for medical certificates for medico-legal consults, if in need of medical attention, should be given proper management and care holistically.
This encounter with a patient, who was in so much pain than we gave her credit for, made me realize that our patients will not volunteer exactly how much they need us. We, as physicians, know better the extent of the issue to address. And as surgeons who are confined to just healing physically, I think that it is of utmost greatness to go that extra mile and look closer and listen more to what our patients do not show and say, and really do something about it.
The patient needed more than just a medical certificate. She needed people to listen, see and understand that her pain is so much more than her wound alone, and we as physicians and normal individuals, with great joy and sympathy, were able to understand her needs and addressed them properly.
ROJoson’s Notes (17jan14):
An extra mile of compassion was shown in this MAR.  This is what the Department of Surgery of the Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center and this MAR are inculcating among the residents.
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