I came across this excerpt from Atul Gawande while browsing the TED articles.
What doctors don’t learn about death and dying
It made me realize that only the basic factoids for a foundation in medicine are taught in medical school. The article should open the eyes of my peers; it is ok to accept and understand the fragility of life without thoughts of failure. Compassion, empathy, resourcefulness, etc. aren’t easily teachable concepts or behaviors. One would hope that aside from understanding things on a cellular to anatomical to physiological to pharmacological level, a basic lesson in emotions, communication, and coping would be equally as important as learning the fundamental medical knowledge to clinically treat patients.
I came across this blog post and was really struck by it’s honesty regarding the nature of medicine and death/dying. Back in 2011, I was faced with a very real scenario regarding my father’s health. Throughout medical school, we are taught to do no harm. However, there is a fine line between living and just barely surviving. Even as an MD and having been trained to deal with death and dying, I had to eventually come to grips with what was best for my dad. It has been said that medicine is both an art and a science. Practicing the art of compassion and empathy, I have learned a great deal from patients and their families as well as my own. Despite all of the advances of modern medicine, nothing helps more than listening to the patient.
The Greatest Act of Courage