Dilemma of a medical student

Category: , , By Aleckii
I'm not sure about medical students elsewhere in the world, but living here and studying here in Russia, I sometimes still cannot get over the fact of how sometimes you can feel the weirdest connections and the weirdest bonds with the unlikeliest of people.

Especially now that I'm in my 5th year, every week we have a different rotation, covering a specific topic. And every week we're given a patient with whom we have to do interviews, clerking, jot down some histories, listen to stories of his/her lives, etc. And more than once, during these sessions, I feel myself connecting with some of my patients on a personal level.

I think the one that hit me the worst was probably 1 or 2 years ago during Internal Medicine, I was given a patient, whom over the course of the next week, I practically had to visit her every single day. Her story was a compelling one, a 65 year old grandmother living alone in a small hut (she explained so much to me) spending her days in the summer planting potatoes and cabbages. When I asked, 'where are your children?' Her reply was a prompt 'I don't know'.

As heart-wrenching as it was, I tried my best not to be emotional about the whole situation. She could barely walk and she had to carry on her life alone, growing enough produce to support her own living. Over the course of the next few days, I brought some fruits for her (which I sneaked to her after class ended- none of my group mates knew about this until this day) and spent some extra time talking to her after class, maybe to help alleviate some loneliness. And she was a very lovely lady too. Very warm and very interested in this bespectacled medical student who came from a totally different world from her old self. She left me with an advice, 'study hard and be good'.

Always when these situations happen, you try to resist yourself from being pulled into, what I call, the 'emotional quicksand'. When you get emotionally attached to a patient, your judgement would be clouded and you are jeopardizing your professionalism. You want to do your best for the patient but when you're in that situation, you simply can't.

So next time when you're in a hospital and come across doctor or two who seems a little cold, maybe a little bit harsh. Just know that there might be a reason behind it.

10 comments so far.

  1. Lynnwei April 2, 2008 at 8:11 PM
    a good one!!!

    my patient was super nice too! it'll be cool if i could pray for her!
  2. BlueStar April 4, 2008 at 4:27 AM
    Good post!

    The thing is almost every patient here in russian has more or less the same situation as this pity ah po... sometimes I just skipped amanesis vitae to avoid listening to what I called tragedy case...

    I wonder do they ppl here realize that they have a big social problem.. most of them just don't care about their old parents and some even abandon them, leaving them alone for the rest of the life.... >.<
  3. Elegant Coral April 5, 2008 at 2:20 AM
    Keep your chin up. May God bless you abundantly.
  4. Trinity April 6, 2008 at 6:00 AM
    love the 1st and 2nd picture a lot!! Is that real picture or you use someone else's?

    yeah, many doctors are cold, and harsh.. I don't like them.
  5. Jeanne April 7, 2008 at 12:25 PM
    Most of the doctors are cold..indeed.
  6. Aleckii April 7, 2008 at 2:21 PM
    lynn wei: Yea, sometimes that is all that we can do, do our best for them and pray for the best.

    bluestar: I agree with you, but sometimes I think it goes deep into the root of the society here. I'm not sure about others, but I was raised to believe that no matter what, family comes first. Our parents and families are the most important thing in the world. Nothing beats that.

    elegant coral: Thanks.

    Trinity: I actually took those pics from some website, can't remember where to find them anymore though...

    jeanne: Some are yes, and then you get a new generation of doctors like me and some of my friends, we're hoping to come out into the society as kind caring doctors, we promise! Ahaha!
  7. Ah-Bong April 7, 2008 at 4:24 PM
    hun, u're not the only one to face the problem. havent really had my clinicals, but we were already assigned a patient to follow up on.

    13 years old, spina bifida female kid, neurogenic bladder, and had just recently underwent right kidney removal due to nephrolithiasis. we pitied her to bits, yet we can't do much except for just to suppoer her emotionally.
  8. AiDiSan April 8, 2008 at 5:43 AM

    I'm really touched with this real story. You are truly a caring person. God bless you always.
  9. Aleckii April 9, 2008 at 1:16 AM
    Ah Bong: Yea, you should know too, being a medical student. I guess it's the same everywhere around. It gets harder, believe me.

    aidisan: Thanks!
  10. ChiroBie April 15, 2008 at 8:54 PM
    Simply loving this post~!

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