When there is no place for the scalpel, what does a doctor do?
He or she acts as a friend, a confidant, and a counselor.
Or at least they should, right?
I mean, outside of pills and surgery, medicine can only offer so much.
Sometime you just need someone to understand what you are going through, and to be kind during the experience.
(P.S. If you want others to notice things differently, start here.)
Technical excellence was not enough. As a resident, my highest ideal was not saving lives—everyone dies eventually—but guiding a patient or family to an understanding of death or illness. When a patient comes in with a fatal head bleed, that first conversation with a neurosurgeon may forever color how the family remembers the death, from a peaceful letting go (“ Maybe it was his time”) to an open sore of regret (“ Those doctors didn’t listen! They didn’t even try to save him!”). When there’s no place for the scalpel, words are the surgeon’s only tool.