Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

Finding Work-Life Balance In Medicine

Paging Dr. Mortis, Dr. Rigor Mortis!

Paging Dr. Mortis, Dr. Rigor Mortis!

This is a sample section from a new book I’m writing on the transition from residency to practice.

When you die:

A) The house of medicine will collapse, and only recover by remembering your compassion and sacrifice.

B) Patients and staff will wail in sack-cloth and ashes

C) Someone may name a procedure or drug in your honor

D) People will walk over your dead body, take your vacant day-shifts and go through your pockets for change.

The answer is D. Although I’m using some hyperbole, the point is that when you die, some people will be sad; your loved ones will miss you. But life will go on. The hospital will not close, and the sick will not stop being sick. So conduct your life with this in mind. Medicine, for all it’s wonder and value, must not be a rock on which you wreck yourself. Let it enhance, not overwhelm, your life.

Do not allow medicine to be the reason you live, or the thing by which you invariably and solely define yourself. Let it make you more human and more Godly, more wise, more loving and capable. Let it insinuate you into the lives of the suffering, to bring them help and comfort. Let it make you proud, and serve as an example of caring and hard work to your children and students. Let the money you make improve your family’s plight, allow you to travel, enjoy time together, be healthy and educated.

But NEVER sacrifice your joy, or your family, on the altar of medicine.  And never let medicine be the reason you live. It will never be enough. If you meet an angry doctor, remember that in all likelihood, he or she believed medicine was enough.

And they found out, too late, that they were wrong.

*This blog post was originally published at*

You may also like these posts

    None Found

Read comments »

Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »

Commented - Most Popular Articles