In this video, (hat tip to Medcitynews.com) Dr. Lachlan Forrow, MD, shows how the simplest gestures can have the biggest impact in medical care. He brings to focus the most important factor in a patient’s wellbeing – showing genuine interest in them as a person. In caring for one of his patients – a 92 year-old woman with severe vascular circulation problems in her legs, and with few procedural options – he asks her, “What would be a good day for you? Getting to know you some as a person will help me figure out how I can best help you.”
Further in the video, Isabel Lamour, MD, reflects on Dr. Forrow’s approach: “It’s such a simple question – what would be a good day for you … what do you like to do? … I don’t feel I have time to do that on a daily basis when I’m seeing patients, when I’m on call … to ask them these little things”.
“I don’t feel I have time to do that …”
What does that say about us? As medical device designers, many of us get so wrapped up in our work – the day-to-day tasks we need to get done, the problems we need to solve – that we lose sight of the fact that, for all the marvelous technology we bring into the world to help people, its benefit often pales in comparison to that of basic human interaction.
Some of us are driven to accomplishment. Some of us are driven by demands for a level of work product that justifies our paychecks. It’s easy to get caught on the “production” treadmill. Dr. Lamour regrets that she feels too harried to be able to take the time to relate to her patients as people. Perhaps that should be the most important part of her job. Perhaps that should be the most important part of ours, as well.