Life Lessons

Edgar's picture

Sometimes, life has lessons for us that we don’t truly appreciate until much later. Many years ago, when I was a very wet behind the ears new doctor, I had the privilege of being part of the care team for an elderly Native American woman. She had been transferred from somewhere in rural South Dakota to our hospital in the city in hopes of identifying her disease and ascertaining how best to help her. Her daughter accompanied her. The medical team was convinced we knew “best” while her daughter was determined that we were not going to take a single step that might conflict with her mother’s values. The stage was set for conflict.

As an intern on one of my first rotations, I just could not understand why someone would come to us for help, and then not be willing to follow our recommendations for testing and procedures that we felt would give us information we needed. We were frustrated. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but I learned a lot from that fierce patient advocate.



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