Wednesday, December 13, 2006


There isn't much worse than spending a massive amount of hours of overtime in a team of people 
working on a patient and having the attempt fail.  Unless of course you are the patient for whom the procedure has not succeeded.

I was part of a team today who worked for hours trying to help fix a chronic health problem suffered by a young patient. Unfortunately it didn't work (this time) and he'll be back for another try in a few months. I felt bad for him as he was wheeled out of the room, and had to get him some tissues to clean up the tears that were rolling down his face. There were no sobs, just tears. It must be so disappointing for him and his family.

I wonder how doctors deal with it when they can't help a patient, no matter how much they try. In situations I have been in, you have to let it go, knowing that you did your best and that you've spent the maximum amount of time and effort possible (without causing further harm) helping that patient. But I have never been the doctor with whom the buck stops. How will I handle it? I don't give up easily.

In this case the patient will not die in the interim, and will be back for another procedure which, based upon our work tonight, will most likely succeed. But that is the bright side. For now, he has to go to bed tonight knowing that for all of the pain and effort he is no better off than when today started. It must be tough. I hope he has somebody good to talk with about it all.

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