I often get asked how doctors handle death. People assume doctors get used to people dying on their time. Do people really get used to failing at their jobs?  I want to ask them back.  I think people should ask a physician who was up all night trying to resuscitate a patient for 6 hours, doing everything they know how some times knowing that their attempst will be futile, yet holding onto hope. Ask them how adept they are at handling their patient’s death.

Doctors make mistakes. I have made mine.I know I will make many more. I know every doctor will make unforgettable ones at least once in their lifetime. Some times we lose. Some times we make it okay. I think mistakes make you good doctors. What doesn’t is making the same mistakes all over again.



Filed under Life

16 responses to “Hmm..

  1. i’ve always felt bad for the doctors…they have the hardest job in the world.they have to keep their cool when everyone else is losing theirs..and how do they ever sleep when someone dies?…really..hats off to you guys.


  2. folks tell me about what they call “death meetings’ they have once every month where they take up cases where patients died, and then the relevant department / specialist has to state probable causes etc.

    i think when you look at death as another process of life at large, and a necessary one at that, you don’t feel so bad after all.


  3. D

    Doctors aren’t God. And I think even God makes mistakes.


  4. Nisha:
    Doctors are doing a job they have been trained for. Just like fire-fighters or people who take our garbage out. We all rely on the other to make our lives a little easier. I agree doctors deal with life. So really a comparison is unfair. So also the expectations and demands. In the same token, I do appreciate your feelings about a doctor’s profession..but I think no one likes failing.

    Unfortunately there is little place for a philosophical outlook, especially when one is training. It takes a few years to realise that every mistake was a lesson learnt, every patient lost ensured another one lived.

    I agree. Question is how much we are ready to learn from our mistakes.


  5. to me, philosophy is the pursuit of the truth. and in that sense, such an outlook is but a truthful outlook, however painful it may be. in some cases, it i guess it comes in the genes, and in others, it may be acquired due to certaining conditining. in either case, there is always place, imho 🙂


  6. Dharmabum:
    There is, I would agree. Sometimes we don’t see it.


  7. thank you, det-res 🙂

    am curious about your work and where you’re based, pardon me, but i have several close friends and family from the medical community, and they say it is a small world. it is a profession i have come to admire a lot – so much that i didn’t take it up coz i was afraid i couldn’t live up to it.

    email, perhaps?


  8. I think ours is the only profession where there is no room for even one mistake. One small mistake can be the end of a career which involved so many sacrifices. I was trained here in America so the liability is always so high and of course you always want to do the best for your patients.


  9. Dharmabum:
    Curiosity is a good thing. That will keep you coming to my blog I suppose. The community isn’t as small as it has been made out to be. I will disagree that admiration was the reason you didn’t take up medicine. Of course I could be wrong.

    While blunders can be the end of careers, I will say from my past and current experience that doctors make mistakes. They have overlooked and underdiagnosed and learnt.


  10. and that means no email 😉

    it was admiration in a different sort of a way – one where you know you jus not are ‘good’ enough to aspire for it. and i suppose i understand why you disagree, for it indeed is paradoxical.


  11. Dharmabum:
    The one thing I did learn from being associated with medicine was that any thing is possible. 😉


  12. Which is why I respect doctors way too much. It’s incredible how, apart from having the toughest job on the planet, they deal with the pressure, the hope of people (and relatives of) who blindly leave their lives in their hands. It’s commendable.


  13. The thing is there is a difference between failing in some other profession say IT, not being to run the code etc. etc. than falling to keep a person alive…..the stakes are way too high..and that is where the difference lies!!!


  14. Rohit:

    Well said.


  15. Sigh. I come from a family of docs and defence personnel. And Death in both illness and in war is not easy but this profession does teach one to be more accepting.

    I am the black sheep and I react like any normal human being to death.
    But well reading a lot about it has made it more bearable.. but I think its a difficult question..

    how does one handle death ?? its personal.. I guess.

    Mistakes : Its stupid and dangerous to make repeated mistakes again and again. Once is fine. more than that and the same mistake.. should make me take loads of step back and find out what is the root cause and then moving forward.. Sigh.. its a professional axe waiting to fall. 🙂


  16. Pallavi:
    In a way I agree it is a personal thing, handling pitfalls of one’s job. I also think education/knowledge makes one better equipped to handle adversities. Mistakes, they are just that, danerous like you said. Can cost a lot.


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