the clinic is mostly an unhappy place.
investigations are interpreted, news (usually bad) is delivered. treatment options are more often than not rushed through and not discussed adequately. how’s this date for your surgery? no, we don’t know if it’s malignant, but it doesn’t look harmless either. we’d like to get the lump out as soon as possible so it can be analysed by a pathologist. all while ignoring the tears threatening to fall down her cheeks, the anxiety in her face, the tremor in her hands.
i don’t like this aspect of medicine, where a patient stands on the fine line between being a person and a case to be disposed of. but what can the doctor do? the files are piling up on the trolley in the corridor and patients who are waiting get more impatient with every passing minute.
so life-changing decisions have to be made in 10 minutes. fluids have to be taken and reports have to be read. pre-operative assessment on the very day you find out that you have a potentially aggressive tumour growing inside you. and then you leave the room and another patient takes your place.
the flood of doctors entering the system will never solve the problem of patient congestion simply because people will never stop getting sick. and the emphasis on compassion and empathy in medical schools will never stop us from eventually getting tired of smiling and pausing to hand a tissue or pat a back.
clinics will always be depressing…but only if you stop to think about it.
i probably won’t have the luxury to stop and think about it in the future.