So I am at a conference for a few days.And for a few days I hear stories of "what we did".Interesting and occasionally inspiring stories, but nothing to take home. All the right words are said. But nothing I can use as a tool.
Then today I went to a session that was team taught by six people who live all over the globe.
They know where the patients are.
They said you know, the job of science is not to open doors to wisdom. Its' job is to set limits on infinite error.
Think about that and statin use.And about lowering blood pressures to limits where one of the speakers said "I should have known known better. She fell"
Science and education and remembering why you went into medicine,they said, those things give us ways to build a future different than the one towards which we seem to be heading
They know where the patients are- how often, they asked me, do you and your patient agree on what the nature of the trouble is?
The 64,000 question !
I ask, I engage, I have patients set the agenda .I say what do you want to do? What do you think is wrong? But the power of words lies in the patterns with which we use them. How often do my patients think that the nature of the problem is what I think it is? I do not know. How can I not know that?
We betray science if we misuse it.Doctors have the gift of knowledge.And knowledge is power- we are supposed to use it to convey benefits to others. Our fundamental role is to teach is it not? We examine touch look and listen then we teach, because otherwise we will not see where the patients are
So a Turkish proverb is a response to some one recently who told me " nope we have gone too far and put too much into this pilot, this project, we cannot turn now" The Turkish proverb:no matter how far you have gone down the wrong road,turn back.
That's where the patients are- back where we used to be and where we need to go.
Jean Antonucci MD