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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Building The Perfect Doctor

Lady FrankensteinImage via Wikipedia
I have been thinking about what combination of qualities would make my ideal doctor. You see, despite searching for years for the perfect doctor to treat my chronic pain and fibromyalgia, I have yet to find this mythical creature. So since I have not met my "Doctor Right" and I am currently trying to get by with a few "Good Enough Doctors," I starting thinking that building my own perfect physician might be my best bet.

I know, this seems like equal parts science fiction, horror and fantasy combined, but hey,
if Dr. Frankenstein can dabble in beast building, why can't I?

Like Dr. Frankenstein's monster, I decided to take pieces from real, famous doctors throughout history and cobble them together. My plan: instill these qualities into a top of their class medical student, fresh out of school, stirring them into the cutting edge medical knowledge they just received. (I just haven't figured out the instilling and stirring part yet...)

Like in any good monster movie, with a flip of a switch, a bolt of lightening and an evil cackle, I bring my creation to life!

One Part Dr. Benjamin Spock

Yes, he is a world famous pediatrician and author of the best-selling book
Baby and Child Care. He is also famous for this quote which was his advice to new mothers, "You know more than you think you do." He was one of the first physicians to study psychoanalysis so he could better understand the needs of the children in his care.

KEY QUALITY: Dr. Spock knew medicine is an art, an art of understanding the patient from all viewpoints and formulating a treatment that builds upon the patient's strength and helps them discover their own healing power.

One Part Dr. Guy de Chauliac

This physician, who was the personal physician to three Popes, lived in the 14th century. He is recognized as the first doctor to employ experimental methods to the practice of medicine. For example, he advised other physicians in his time to dissect corpses to gain important knowledge about human anatomy. Using scientific methods, he also dispelled the myth that the plague was caused by poisoned well water, an erroneous but commonly held belief. During a plague outbreak in Avigon, he stayed to treat the sick instead of fleeing as most of the residents did to avoid catching the illness. He eventually got sick himself, but eventually recovered.

KEY QUALITIES: Dr. de Chauliac knew that medicine is a science and the physician must always be questioning, investigating and learning. He also displayed courage when he practiced his profession despite the great risk to his own health.

One Part Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis


Dr. Semmelweis' message was simple: wash your hands to prevent the spread of disease. His recommendations were widely criticized in his day, but his advice is widely heeded today to prevent the spread of germs like bacterium and viruses. His discovery led to a simple yet effective method to prevent communicable diseases. (I wonder what he would have thought about modern day hand sanitizer...)

KEY QUALITIES: Dr. Semmelweis knew that 1) Sometimes something commonplace, overlooked and simple can be the answer you are looking for and 2) Always wash you hands!

One Part Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

A Swiss-born psychiatrist, Dr. Kubler-Ross' work was a powerful force in the creation of the hospice and palliative care moments, which seeks to bring comfort to those with serious and chronic illness. While talking to patients who were terminally-ill, she not only illuminated the dying process but highlighted the importance using medical care to preserve quality of life when medicine could not provide a "cure" for the patient.

KEY QUALITY: Dr. Kubler-Ross knew it is important to use medicine to relieve the discomforts of illness, like pain, fatigue, nausea and difficulty sleeping.


One Part Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell

Dr. Blackwell holds the distinction of being the first American female physician. She faced a particularly difficult uphill battle getting her medical degree, being the target of harassment from her fellow students and faculty alike. You see, the medical faculty at Geneva College only admitted her because they thought her application was a joke. To their surprise, Ms. Blackwell showed up and diligently attended all her classes, receiving her medical degree on January 23, 1849.

KEY QUALITY: Dr. Blackwell knew the power of persistence and never let go of her dream to be a doctor and help patients in need despite all the discrimination she faced in becoming and practicing medicine.


So what do you think of my perfect doctor? If you built your own perfect doctor, what qualities would you give your creation? Leave a comment here or head over to the Oh My Aches and Pains! Facebook page and join the discussion there.





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2 comments

lupie said...

"Compassion!"

Doctors nowadays treat us like numbers.

phylor said...

I would draw the line with Dr. Spock only because I read his advice to mothers when I was a kid, and some of the stuff was scarey! But, that's me, and 8 or 9 year olds probably shouldn't be reading Dr. Spock (or my parent's murder mysteries from the library).
I think the other qualities you suggest from the other doctors are very admirable.
I have a good pcp, but haven't had as much luck with specialists. Going to see a rhumey dr. next month that specializes in fibro, so we'll see how that goes.
Good luck finding Dr. Right -- and when found, please let all of us know!