Have we been that busy?

The nurse informed me that one of her patients did not look too good. I went to examine him. He certainly did not look too swell.

After i reviewed him and done a septic workup and was about to leave, he said, “Thanks Doctor for having a look at me.”

I paused, glanced at the patient a few seconds longer than i should, observing his expression of sincerity and gratitude, before i nodded, thanked him and left. Not betraying my inner shock and almost sadness.

Have we as doctors, become so busy that we have lost our compassion? That our patients no longer expect us to examine them when they have taken a turn for the worse, but to just run innumerable tests? That when we do show up and touch and prod them in a humane way, they are surprised and grateful that we took a chunk out of our busy schedule to attend to them??

Isn’t examining patients part of our job; the whole point of our profession?

(And indeed, when that patient had also taken a turn for the worse two nights ago, someone only asked for blood cultures. There were no documentation of examination, their impression or other much needed septic workup for a patient who is about to drop off the bend.)

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