I think my favorite exercise we did was less than a minute long. Gwen had us take a sheet of paper and then guided us through a series of steps. The instructions were quick, something like: fold in half, tear off top right corner; fold in half again, tear off top left corner; etc. I didn’t even get past the first instruction before becoming confused by her intent. Top right corner relative to what? The folded side? How was I even supposed to fold it? Back to elementary school, hamburger or hotdog? Wait a sec!
But what a powerful illustration. We got through the few instructions and everyone held up their paper… not a single one looked like another. But we all had the exact same instructions. She certainly could have elaborated on various steps… tell me how to fold it, tell me how to orient it. Even… Continue reading
As I sit in the airport after an incredible week in Breckenridge, I remember the stat that was shared multiple times through the week. On my 3 hour flight home, the pilot will make around 3 mistakes. One per hour. I can see my plane out the window. That thing is huge. What an enormous responsibility. But thank goodness the pilot is not in there alone. S/he has a team. He can do his absolute best with the confidence that his team has his back. The roles in the cockpit are not identical, but complement each other. I hope and trust that my pilot is not too proud to have open lines of communication. That he will readily accept correction or questions from his copilot. (And that the copilot will speak up!) That he will be diligent through our whole trip.
I hope the same is true of our medical… Continue reading
“In order to connect with you, I have to connect with something in myself that knows that feeling” -Brene Brown. This is vulnerable. Sometimes I’d rather not go back to certain times and feelings. It takes a lot of emotional energy. It also takes a lot of time. Sitting with a patient in their pain, vulnerably connecting our own pain to theirs… doesn’t always fit neatly into a schedule.
Before I started medical school, I took a year to serve as a pastoral resident at a church south of Nashville, working with student ministry and local missions. In that season and in prior seasons of ministry, I learned a good deal about empathy. Teenagers have a lot of complex issues in their lives. They have a lot of feelings. Adolescence is an incredibly difficult time. And sometimes they just need someone to be present. I was always so thankful for… Continue reading
The hard work put in by healthcare teams can so quickly be negated by a simple medical error. Our patients are our priority, our very inspiration, and the idea that something we did or allowed caused harm to the patient is sobering. My friend’s son was born with a cystic kidney, needing to be removed soon after delivery. What should have been a relatively simple procedure became complicated when the doctor unknowingly removed the entire horseshoed kidney. 14 years and innumerable complications later, their family is still living with the repercussions of the medical error.
Perhaps it’s different when there’s no way to deny an error has been committed… there was no possible coverup. For the first few hours after the near-fatal mistake, though, the family was kept in the dark. Medical professionals were frantically running around them, but there was not much left to do.
In their case, they… Continue reading