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remember. The touch of an empathic doctor is more potent than any drug and is instantly addictive. The
care and genuine compassion you provide resonates throughout the patient’s network of lives. Their families, friends and communities are eternally grateful for giving them back their rock. Take your time. They, not your computer screen, deserve your full attention for those precious few minutes on rounds. They have waited all day and night for that treasured contact and update. Follow through on giving them that test result. They are on tenterhooks anxiously waiting.
Give your patient time to rest. We all need our beauty sleep. Imagine being sick, in an unfamiliar place, on a lumpy uncomfortable bed with beeping noises every
few minutes. This may sound increasingly like your call room but in this room, you have the added pleasure of multiple strangers creeping in sticking a thermometer in your ear, applying a blood pressure cuff and pricking you for blood! I challenge you all to experience a night on the
ward, surrounded by the deafening cacophony of beeps, bells, screams of “Help”, the gurgling humidified oxygen and then be rudely awoken at 6am and asked “how you are feeling?”, all before you have that mandatory caffeine shot we need to face the world! Think – do I really need to draw that lab at 2am?
Dreading that difficult time, to tell that painful diagnosis or inform of a bleak outlook, is natural. Those few minutes are indelibly imprinted in the minds of the patient and family on a constant replaying loop. There is no repeat take. The way this is handled, if done wrongly, can be more damaging than the news itself. Sometimes there is no right decision or good option. Don’t punish yourself. Honesty, patience and just being there is what they need. Shower them with attention, those last few days are never forgotten. You cannot
change the outcome, but you can change the way it happens.
This heartwarming message from a recently recovered COVID-19 patient at my institution really embodies the strength we as a healthcare team can have without realizing it. Trust me, your hard work and sacrifices do not go unnoticed.
Remember, your patient is more than bed 36. They are a child, parent, spouse and friend. One day that patient could be you.
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