A relationship like no other
The relationship I have with my medical provider is unique as it is based almost entirely on trust. I tell him/her the most intimate details of my life–that I don’t reveal even to my closest family members or significant other. He/she is not just my health care provider but also my confidant in some ways. But lately I’ve noticed a growing distance. I can no longer call and directly talk to my doctor. I have to leave a message. Nor can I always see him/her when I have a concern. I have to make do with a substitute. Then when I’m really sick and need to go to the hospital I see another bunch of strangers. I’m told my doctor is too busy to come to see me.
Yes, it’s true. The practice of medicine is changing. We providers are no longer able to provide exclusive care to their patients. Often, we have to delegate to others as we are placed under constant pressure to squeeze one more patient into that fifteen-minute window and waste time entering irrelevant information into the EMR (electronic medical record) and filling forms and paperwork. We begin to appear aloof, inattentive, sometimes even uninterested and dismissive when clearly we are not. Our patients feel they are another file in the cabinet rather than a thinking, feeling human being.
I started my career in primary care then changed my mind and moved to hospital-based medicine. I made the transition, so I can spend as much time as I need to with every one of my patients without restrictions. Of course, this comes with increased stress levels because I’m taking care of really sick individuals, but compromises have to be made. The hospital environment is different. People come, get better and leave. Though some keep coming back. Often because they are sick but sometimes due to other less well-understood reasons.
Over the years I’ve had some extraordinary encounters and met extraordinary people endowed with tremendous grit, endurance and courage. Some of them are etched in my mind; they’ve moved me, humbled me, exposed me to my vulnerability and changed me permanently; hopefully for the better.
The purpose of this website is to bring forth the human aspect of medicine that seems to be have got lost in this fast-paced world. We want to share insights and experiences from both sides of the aisle. Many of these are deeply personal and the authors are being very courageous by opening a part of their lives to the world. Now and then, my colleagues and I will also elaborate on some topics on health and medicine.
Dr. Simi K. Rao (creator of The Med Bag) and The Med Bag Family.