The litmus test for good health care

Once when I was a senior resident, I had an intern who was taking real shitty care of one of his patients. He couldn't have cared less about this patient. His notes were sloppy. His management poor. I was cleaning up all kinds of loose ends. Finally, I confronted him.

He hated the patient. He thought that the patient was manipulative and mean-spirited. To say his care for her was dispassionate would be a compliment compared to the job he was actually doing. But hating a patient doesn't give you the right to do a shit job.

"Yes, she's a bitch, but she is someone's mother. And if you took this kind of care of my mother, I would sue you out of spite. And my mother makes this lady look like Mother Teresa."

There are two tests that are quite useful when caring for patients. It becomes very easy to forget that we are treating people and not diseases, because all we see are the diseases, and it's hard to get to know the people. So it's helpful to ask yourself two questions when you feel a little lost in the storm:

(1) Is this the care I would want for my parents? (2) Would my parents be proud of me if they could see what I'm doing?

If you can answer yes to both questions, then you're doing alright. If not, it's time to take a step back.

1 comment:

JS said...

Excellent advice