Doctoring Reflection

Right Care — There is always something to do

Some of my most poignant moments in medicine happen after the ablations and devices are finished. That’s when I go visit with patients up in the medical wards.

My legs are fried from standing all day. So I sit, a key move because then you are ready to listen. One good thing about computers in hospital rooms is they come with a stool, which is handy as a bedside chair.

This is slow time; a time for eye contact, an invitation. These are the moments when you hear things about a person. The connection goes way beyond the disease systems, the biomarkers, the CPT codes.

Maybe I am wrong, but it feels therapeutic. Sometimes the therapy goes in the opposite direction: I often remark to the person in the bed that she helped me more than I helped her. I leave the room thinking…that wasn’t fair.

These moments, not in the past nor the future, but in the present, surely count as Right Care.

In this wonderful talk, medical student, Saurabh Sinha discovers how being present in the moment, listening, and then seeing that people aren’t lists of diseases, but simply fellow humans who are suffering. I don’t know how you put caring into a quality measure or enter it into an electronic health record, but it’s what we all hope for when we get sick. This is Right Care>


h/t: Lisa Rosenbaum.

2 replies on “Right Care — There is always something to do”

Thank you for this. I remember the many times when I have not cared enough to take the time to listen to patients because “they are not in my area of expertise”. Your words, John, and the words of the young medical student Saurabh Sinha have made me realise two things: One, interacting with people can be therapeutic for me too and two, there is always something I can do even for people not in my area of expertise.

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