Saturday, January 25, 2014

Inspiration from Old Hippocrates

"Cure sometimes, treat often, care always."

I've seen this quote attributed to the Father of Medicine and to Dr. Edward Trudeau (1800s), but I suppose it doesn't matter who said it.  

What matters is that it is a poignant reminder that despite medical advances over years, decades, centuries . . . our calling as physicians remains the same.

There are still so few diseases that we cure.  Perhaps we prescribe antibiotics that get our patients over infections, but much of our time is devoted to corralling chronic diseases, some more successfully than others.

When it comes to geriatrics, in particular, our patients face many conditions that march along becoming more debilitating over time - dementia, heart failure, Parkinson's disease, to name a few. 
Sometimes it makes one feel powerless when patients come to us seeking to "get better."  However, that's when I remember the last two words of the phrase.  Comfort always.  When we put science aside and relate to our patients on a human level, we are always doing them a service.  And perhaps we're doing ourselves as service, as well.   

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