How Medicine Broke My Heart

This was not a planned post.  In fact, right now I’m “supposed” to be catching up on my cheesy medical dramas from last night.  Ironic, huh?

Instead I found myself reading and responding to this.  Then I found myself crying.  Now I’m writing.  Talk about inspiration integration!

So I’m going to get straight to it: medicine broke my heart.  I thought it was just about the twenty rejection letters (yes, twenty), the almosts, the maybes, and the pure disrespect with which the system treats its applicants, its doctors-to-be.  But that isn’t all of it.  Medicine broke my heart because it didn’t turn out to be the healing system I thought it was.

Going in, I knew there were issues.  I knew the doctors were overworked and stressed.  I knew that insurance premiums were too high.  I knew that many docs had god complexes and treated their patients and supportive staff disrespectfully.  What I didn’t know was how deeply broken the system was.  I didn’t realize that its all about profits and not patients.  That its ok to spend $50,000+ on a mock-up wall of the new building but not ok to validate parking for your chemotherapy patients.  That is ok to be rude to your techs and PCAs and even your patients but its not ok to cry with them, hug them, or open up conversation about something that might be awkward for you, Doctor, even if your patient needs to talk about it.  I didn’t realize that the doctors don’t really have control anymore; most of what’s happening isn’t their fault.  I couldn’t have known that they are the only ones who can step up and change it, but only if they work together.

Most of all, medicine broke my heart because by just being involved in the minimal way I am, I already found myself hardening.  My heart breaks a little more every time I talk to a distressed patient who is unhappy with the care she is receiving or because no one told her that chemo would cause her pubic hair to fall out too.  My heart breaks every time I see a doc tear down a nurse/pca/tech/etc because s/he has the right to treat these “lowly” people poorly.  My heart breaks every time I hear a medical professional mention how they haven’t had a chance to pee all day or that the hospital is asking them to increase their already over-loaded patient census.

Medicine – you broke my heart and I’m  not sure how to go about forgiving you.  I desperately want to try but I’m so afraid of going furth  er down this path to self-destruction and unhappiness.  This is the fear I mentioned in my last post.  This is the fear that is holding me back from re-applying.

Now we all know.  The question is, what to do with this knowledge…


Kait xo

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