Editor's Note: which features contributions from members of the medical community. These blogs are an opportunity for bloggers to engage with readers about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Keith Aldinger, MD, an internist who practices in Houston Texas. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of or UBM Medica.
The devastation that hit the coast of Texas certainly qualifies as a time that tries men’s souls. However, at the same time, it is the heart and soul of your fellow man that may allow you to survive that acute devastation and to salvage hope for the future.
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As a physician who has practiced primary care medicine for over 35 years, I have come to realize that in spite of the disease severity and the grim prognosis, human concern, human compassion and human comfort may often be the best available treatments.
Over the past week, I have been amazed with the multitude of humans practicing effective medicine without a license. These include the first responders who are working endless overtime hours with a smile on their faces, the neighbors from close and far neighborhoods and even bordering and distant states, volunteering their time, trucks and boats to assist in evacuations. The volunteer shelter workers giving their time to feed, clothe and house the evacuees. Yes, there is no stronger, no better medication than the milk of human kindness.
The vast majority of these people displaced from their homes will not become acutely ill. Yes, some will develop illnesses associated with exposure to contaminated water or wounds acquired during their evacuation from the flooding.
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However, these will be a minority. In the next few weeks, I will be seeing some of these patients in my office. I suspect that in the majority of these cases, I will keep the prescription pad in my pocket and turn the computer screen to the wall. What these patients will need is time to express their concerns and their worries. I only hope that my healing skills can be as effective as those of the initial responders.