Sometimes, beauty and inspiration are inches away from our eyes, glowing at us from the blue light of our screen. Dr. Wright shares a moving story from a recent email exchange between a resident and attending.
We often feel overwhelmed slogging through our Inbox each and every day. It can feel as if there are just too many messages and I often worry about accidentally missing or deleting something critical that has been tucked between a notice from the International Journal of X and a CME conference offering company—both of which I haven’t been able to unsubscribe from despite multiple attempts.
Especially when being CCed, some question whether there was the need to bear witness to the exchange.
But sometimes, beauty and inspiration are inches away from our eyes, glowing at us from the blue light of our screen…
A Gem From Outlook
Today, I was CCed on a moving email thread between a faculty member in our Division and one of our residents. Reading their exchange made my day!
The resident wrote:
Dear Dr. X,
I’m writing you because I haven’t stopped thinking about you and your patient, Ms. Y, since she was discharged from the hospital earlier this week.
When I started my career in medicine, I did so with the hope and promise of being a primary care doctor. My goal was not to be just any primary care doctor, but a really fantastic one. That’s why I chose come here for residency training.
In my short time here, I ‘ve seen many physicians who have inspired me for one reason or another. Whether it be their clinical acumen, or their bedside manner, or their diagnostic reasoning. But I’ve never been as inspired as I was by your care of your patient who we had the honor of meeting for just a short time.
A patient who is far too young to have to make decisions about her end of life. A patient who I am certain would not still be alive today if it weren’t for the diligent, thoughtful, and comprehensive care you’ve provided her for the past five years. None of what has happened in her life is fair and it certainly doesn’t make sense, but you have very clearly made her life better and more meaningful and I could see just how much she loves and respects you. I’m hopeful that she still has months or longer ahead of her. She is so fortunate to continue in your care for the time that remains.
Thank you for all you have done for her and for the way in which you have inspired our entire inpatient team. I have so much to learn but I hope someday to be as compassionate, thoughtful, and brilliant a physician as you.
The attending’s response:
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this note to me. I’m crying now and need to get myself together to teach interns this morning!
This has been quite a week and all glory goes to God, not to me as this and many other situations keep me humble about how little I know about medicine even after so many years.
I was so happy hear that Ms. Y is now back at home. All those on the inpatient team did a superb job caring for her in a patient-centered way.
I’m privileged to get to care for patients alongside you all, and I hope and pray that any inspiration provided will create avenues for you ‘young ones’ to help to change/redesign the system. We must continue to bring the best of our minds and hearts to our patients so as to make their journey through sickness better.
Residents like you inspire me and are definitely part of what keeps me around!
Blessings on your day and thanks again,
While I tried very hard not to send an email to clutter their Inboxes, I couldn’t help myself and I hit Reply All—
Thank you for the CC.
Made my day.
You BOTH are exceptional role models who inspire many, including me today.
Your passion and compassion are exceptional gifts that are widely appreciated.
Don’t ever change.
What treasures related to excellent patient care pleasantly surprised you in your Inbox?
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