Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Hallelujah dance

Everyone who takes care of patients has an occasional "difficult" patient.

My definition of a difficult patient is simple: It's someone who, for whatever reason, invokes a feeling of dread or doom in you and/or your staff.

It usually has nothing to do with a patients age or their underlying medical diagnoses or co-morbidities.

Some are part of your life only briefly; others you get to know for many, many years.

I used to enjoy watching the television show "Becker."

The actor, Ted Danson, played the part of an internist (Dr. Becker) working in a New York City medical office.

In one of the episodes, one of his difficult patients announced she was moving to North Carolina to live with a son.

Dr. Becker then went on to say how much he had enjoyed taking care of her over the years and how much he would miss being her doctor.

He then let the patient know he would be right back and excused himself for a minute. He closed the exam room door.

Once in the hallway and alone, he broke into a huge grin and started to do a "hallelujah" dance.

After a brief moment of joy, he went back into the exam room and finished his solemn good-byes.

Most, seasoned, primary care providers can understand the joy he temporarily expressed.

Just always remember to dance in private.

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