angry doc asks - 1
Business, or personal?
I’ve actually run out of things to say this week, so I thought I would listen while you guys talk (or rather read what you guys write) instead for a change, if you will be so obliging.
In my reply to TTG’s comment in an earlier post I quoted this passage from The Godfather (novel not movie):
"Tom, don't let anyone kid you. It's all personal, every bit of business. Every piece of shit every man has to eat every day of his life is personal. They call it business. OK. But it's personal as hell. You know where I learned that from? The Don. My old man. The Godfather. If a bolt of lightning hit a friend of his - the old man would take it personal. He took my going into the Marines personal. That's what makes him great. The Great Don. He takes everything personal. Like God."
Of course, in the movie what Michael said was:
“It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business.”
I have no idea why Francis Ford Coppola decided to change the line, but I think you will agree that it gives a totally different spin to the whole story.
I’m not sure which version I prefer.
As doctors we deal with people. People whose ailments are very real and very personal to them. Every pain, every discomfort, every disability, every loss.
We sometimes take the bad outcomes that patients encounter as the 'natural history of the disease', or 'known complication of the procedure'. We keep a clinical distance from the emotions. We accept them as part of our job and we move on. We call it 'professional'. But it can be personal as hell.
I once watched a colleague cry after the death of a patient, a death which he thought he ought to have been able to prevent. There, in the presence of other doctors, both junior and senior, he wept. The guilt and grief were real and palpable. At that moment there was no worry of legal implications, no thought about setting up review committees. Just raw human emotions. I didn't think him any less of a doctor then, or now.
I end with another quote, this time from House, speaking to Foreman about him and his former mentor:
"You took a chance, you did something great. You were wrong, but it was still great. You should feel great that it was great. You should feel like crap that it was wrong. That's the difference between him and me. He thinks you do your job, and what will be, will be. I think that what I do and what you do matters. He sleeps better at night. He shouldn't."