Monday, May 27, 2013


I am not a Provider!  

pro·vi·der n
1.            somebody who provides the material means of support for somebody, especially a family
2.            an organization or company that provides access to a service or system, for example, a cellular phone, cable, or computer network

I am a Doctor! 

doc·tor n

1.            a title given to somebody who has been awarded a doctorate, the highest level of degree awarded by a university
2.            in the earlier history of the Roman Catholic Church, an eminent and influential theologian
3.            a teacher, or somebody very knowledgeable (archaic)

After many years of practicing medicine, I have come to realize that patients look upon doctors as belonging to their family of friends. They share their hopes and dreams. They talk about illness and the dread that comes with it. They speak about their families and what the children, grandchildren or their spouses, nieces and nephews have to say about inconsequential things. They talk about life.

From that, I decipher the heartache within, which has caused the calamity that has propelled the patient to arrive at my doorstep. I am a human like my patient. I have the same fears. I revel in in the joys similar to the ones they, the patients have. I rejoice in the same accolades that they do. I cry because of similar threads of loss and grief. But here is where the unpleasant thoughts must end in caring for the patient. With all the empathy endowed upon me through living a life, I must detach myself from the emotive expressions and with a critical eye towards facts and none towards the bubbling brook of emotions, cast my analysis in accordance with knowledge and experience. To help my patient!

The frown of thought, the wrinkle of concern, the detachment in the question must accomplish one and only one purpose; regaining the past splendor of a life in turmoil. So I listen and think and listen some more. And at the end, I have a plan.

Explaining the technical details to the patients are as important for their understanding as it is to mine. They must understand what I plan to do. I must understand what they expect of me in return for subjecting themselves to the rigors of my plan. This understanding is an education, which must not be cut short, abbreviated or rendered moot. It is crucial to both of us. It is crucial to the wellbeing of the patient and is equally crucial to the promise of my dedication to this noble profession of medicine.

Why then do the “experts” continue to use the jargon of “provider” when they talk about me? Why, am I to them, someone who provides only “material means of support?” I ask myself. Is that what I do? Am I a car salesman that provides a material means of support to a customer to ease their travels? Am I a plumber that provides a material means of support for a burst pipe? Both professions in light of need have an important place and need in society, but I believe in my heart, I give more than that. I give of myself, my experience, my knowledge, my humanity, my support, my confidence, my empathy, my emotions and a share of unquantifiable intellect gathered through years of practice and familiarity, that are all a part, which enrich me.

What then is the purpose of this changed definition? The lexicon seems to have permeated into the professors, experts, journalists, lay-people and even intellectuals who think for a living, in their daily conversation. I believe it is a means of diminishing the significance of a doctor! Reduce the perceived value of the doctor through this lexical obfuscation and then use that proposition to demonize, demonetize, and vilify at random. Ultimately, one must wonder, to what end? Is it because of money? Unfortunately, from my perspective, all trails lead to the pot of gold at the end of their rainbow! 

A noble profession does not and has never meant aloofness, superiority and arrogance. It is meant an unvarnished reality of alleviating human disease and restoring health.

This discussion is not about dipping in a pool of nostalgia, it is about reality. As a doctor, I must maintain my side of the bargain of caring for the sick and educating them in health and leave to others to call me what they want. 

But in my own infinite space, I am and will always be a Doctor!

"Three-quarters of the sicknesses of intelligent people come from their intelligence. They need at least a doctor who can understand this sickness." ~ Marcel Proust

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