This I Believe

Justina - Tonasket, Washington
Entered on August 15, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in community. I am physician in a very rural, very small town in North Central Washington. In fact I am a physician in my hometown. When I was in medical school I returned to my hometown for a rotation in family practice. While I was shadowing one of the local physicians he evaluated my father’s best friend in the emergency room. A thorough investigation was done. Everything seemed fine and he was sent home. Two days later he died on his way to the hospital. When the physician I was working with was told that the patient had died he had to stop working. He went into an exam room for a few minutes to collect himself before he could continue on with his the rest of his patients. It mattered that my fathers friend had died. It mattered to his physician in a way that I rarely witnessed during the rest of my training. It mattered because they were friends, because he loved him and because sometimes our best efforts don’t change anything. I believe in community because I want it to matter to me when my patients die. Not because of what it says about my medical skills or knowledge or my own feeling of inadequacey, but because they were my friend and I loved them.