I believe in Medicine. I think it is an amazing science. We understand a lot about the human body and we have some idea as to how and why it reacts the way it does. We can make some intelligent estimates of what prognosis and quality of life a person will have. How ever we are not clairvoyants, who can predict the future, or time machines for added accuracy. Also everything in medicine is very individual at the end of the day. How a 22 year old athlete will react to a chest infection is very different from how a 74 year old with a smoking history of 50 pack years will.
Yet, I believe we know enough to provide some guidelines. It is not a perfect science. Then again nothing in life is.
There are some glaring short falls that I have observed. Ego can play a huge part in judgement. A cancer specialist lives in his own bubble of hope that he can take away cancer. If not completely cure, atleast give the patients a few more years of life. But at no point does he want to think of end of life issues. That is not why he became a cancer specialist. He became one to give life to those suffering. It is his ego, that does not allow him to realize that may be the few extra days in pain may not be as valuable as a few dignified hours with the family.
Then there is laziness. A lot of specialists want to only take care of their own organ system. It appears like they only care about their own tree in the forrest. It doesn’t matter that the rest of the forrest is on fire. Hence the need for several specialties to work together on very ill patients and some times not so ill patients. Inspite of the million things that go wrong or can go wrong, I think doctors do a decent job.
So many times, I am told about miracle survivals. ” Doctors have said not more than three months and now seven years later…”
I am amazed at the grit and determination of the individual. I am amazed with the support of the family. I think it is miraculous. I think people who walk after spinal cord injuries, give hope to society. I think the patient who survives bad head trauma is determined, I feel people who come out of depression are inspired.
At no point do I feel that when the doctor told a person with a broken spine that his chances of walking are slim, he was doing it out of some arrogance.. he is just relaying facts, his experience and his limitations.