Shadowing Patients: A Case Study

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Not a single person in my family is involved in medicine. Nor do they enjoy being anywhere near the doctor’s office or a hospital so naturally, I had no exposure to medicine till my high school years except for being a fan of medical television such as Grey’s Anatomy and House. During this time, I became privy to a different side of medicine and health care. Shadowing doctors and volunteering in a hospital, I was fascinated by the unique language that separated the hospital from the world outside. Nurses soothing hysterical patients and families, surgical interns grappling for the best surgeries, doctors sniffing out drug-seeking patients- things you wouldn’t learn in med school in your textbooks. Part of this new language seemed cold and detached to me- just what my mother despised. For example, at times patients would be identified by their conditions rather than their names. The hypothetical patient in room 342 was called “mitral valve replacement” rather than “Lara” or “the mother of two”. In other cases, I saw interns being left to perform CPR on a car accident victim who was gone before he even reached the hospital.

To exemplify this detachment, as I followed my doctor through the hospital,
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After observing and shadowing doctors, there is so much more to being a healer than merely possessing medical knowledge and practicing the medicine. The doctors that I have seen know more about their patients than just their stats and medications; they care about these patients. They view themselves as humans first and doctors second, connecting with patients on an emotional and personal level, and taking care of their medical needs as well. Their compassion, comprehension, and cooperation are essential in any patient-doctor relationship, even under the pressure of sleep-deprivation and the chance of fallibility because they know there is no other
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