The other day, a friend told me that when I went to the doctor, many times I had the feeling that the important thing was the doctor, when the really important thing should be the patient.
In this sense I have recently read a wonderful short story by Galeano that I wanted to share with you:
“A man from the town of Neguá, on the coast of Colombia, was able to ascend to the high sky. On his return he said that he had contemplated human life from above. And he said that we are a sea of little fires. The world is that,” he revealed. a lot of people, a sea of fires. Each person shines with their own light among all the others. No two fires are alike. There are big fires and small fires and fires of all colors. There are people with serene fire, who don’t even know of the wind, and people with crazy fire that fills the air with sparks. Some fires, silly fires, do not light or burn; but others burn life with such passion that you cannot look at them without blinking, and whoever approaches it lights up “.
We should all try to be the final ‘little fire’ type, the one that ‘lights’ the one who approaches. But especially doctors. We have that opportunity and that responsibility to our patients.
The Placebo Effect of Empathy
When a patient leaves a consultation, there can be 3 types of possible reactions:
Say: “What a disaster, I’m not coming back again”
That says: “All correct, they are professionals”
Let him come out and say: “How wonderful! How well they have treated me!
The latter is what we doctors have to try to achieve: establish a emotional bond with patients through our treatment and how we have made them feel in our practice. Patients do not remember why they came to us, but they will remember how they felt in our practice.
Also, if this empathy is achieved, we get two very clear benefits about the patient: the acquaintance Placebo effect, that is, that the patient improves directly due to a psychosomatic effect, and above all the assurance that the patient is also going to be involved in therapeutic compliance or the recommendations that the doctor has prescribed, that is, greater ‘adherence’ to the treatment .
People who dedicate ourselves to medicine have to be the kind of ‘fire’ that ‘lights’ others, that makes them better. In the case of dermatologists, helping our patients through the skin. And we have to be, as the story says, a serene fire, that is not sensitive to the wind (fashions, unrealistic expectations, money, pharmaceuticals, temporal trends, etc). Therefore, in medicine it is not about constantly doing extraordinary things, but about doing normal day-to-day tasks in an extraordinary way.
Because we doctors sometimes heal, but we must always relieve.