Dr. Raymond Barfield discusses how physicians can process difficult outcomes with patients

(upbeat music) – There is no, there is no
process that I was offered myself in my training. No process to, to work through difficult things. You know, death is not
the only form of loss. I have vivid images of physicians who have given me permission
to grieve other forms of loss by grieving themselves. One of my images came during my oncology fellowship. And there was this orthopedic surgeon who I admired greatly for his skill and for his kindness. And he, I had a patient who
had to have an amputation because of a bone cancer. And so he, in the operating room, with the beauty of his craft took off her leg and sewed her up, did all
the things he had to do to prepare for prosthesis to
make that process good, too. Thinking ahead. Thinking very much about bones and skin and articulation and angles
and those sorts of things. And when he had finished, he went and he leaned
against the metal table that was up against the wall. And he lowered his face into his hand and he began to weep. You know, I wanna cry right now. Just thinking about his sense of what had just occurred in the room with this 15 year old girl. Who will now have to ask questions like will anyone ever want to marry me? Will I ever be able to have babies? Questions that are as large
as our conscious world. Huge questions. Questions that follow you around. Haunting questions. He was aware of this. And I’m quite sure that later his interactions with her were favorably impacted by his compassion. But I will tell you that he also would have been spiritually injured. Or would’ve had a history
of spiritual injury if he had failed to recognize the whole truth of what’s in the room. (upbeat music)

Leave a Reply

(*) Required, Your email will not be published