Medical care extends far beyond simply treating a disease—it involves forging a relationship and offering trust, support, and wisdom.
Since my training as an Osler medicine resident, I’ve always strived for what I’ve perceived as clinical excellence: the delivery of the highest quality medical care to the individual. By modeling great clinicians that I’ve been fortunate to have worked with, I’ve become a critical thinker with a strong fund of knowledge. With over twenty years of clinical work, I’ve learned that being a good listener, confidant, and friend are equally important.
Doing what’s right for the patient
“Do what’s right for the patient.” This simple phrase has guided me since I first became a physician. In the medical era of time constraints, billing pressures, cost containment, and paperwork, my primary responsibility is to the individuals with whom I engage in a physician-patient relationship. Those responsibilities include maintaining the highest level of medical knowledge, being available to meet the needs of each patient, communicating in a meaningful way, and advocating for their health.
I strive for a strong working relationship with other physicians who care for my patients to improve care coordination and medical efficiency. Acknowledging the limits of my medical expertise and directing patients to those that can address their needs is an important component of my professional responsibility. Above all, the patient’s needs come first.
I’ve come to fully appreciate Osler’s wisdom in his quotation, “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” I would offer a simplified version and suggest, “care for the patient as a person.”
Knowing and caring for the patient as a person
In knowing the person, there are many life dimensions that weave into their health and the relationship with their healthcare provider. Respecting their choices and values in their care is part of the unique pact we have with individuals. Medical care extends far beyond simply treating a disease—it involves forging a relationship and offering trust, support, and wisdom.