i had a middle-aged patient who underwent 3 surgeries without improvement. it's unfair to pronounce judgement as to whether the patient should have been subjected to the traumatic experience, based solely on hindsight which we all know to be 100% accurate.
so how do doctors make crucial decisions? consider the facts:
1) the patient had a fall which resulted in multiple blood clots on both sides of the brain;
2) doctor#1 told his family that there's severe brain injury & survival is slim, even with surgery;
3) the family sought a 2nd opinion & doc#2 concurred with doc#1;
4) it was commendable that the family undertook to consent for surgery, & subsequently 2 further procedures, but in the end, it was futile;
doctors are not God, although some may behave like one. however, we do well with our God-given knowledge & skills when we provide the available treatment options & explain each on its own merits, so that the patient and/or the family can deliberate & make an informed decision.
in medicine, results can go either way - the same treatment given to different patients can end in different outcomes. it's never an exact science (or art). there are always grey areas where the unknown & unexplained thrive.
it just occured to me that maybe, just maybe, that's why the TV series is called Grey's Anatomy. could it be that it's never about Meredith the intern-now-turned-resident but rather about the uncertainties the patients & their doctors encounter daily? that sometimes even with the top experts, high-end diagnostic tools & most advanced drugs, the patient dies while another, left on his own may miraculously survive?
i pray for wisdom & discernment as we deal with our patients' fear & concern.
"Pay attention, Job, and listen to me;
be silent, and I will speak.
If you have anything to say, answer me;
speak up, for I want you to be cleared.
But if not, then listen to me;
be silent, and I will teach you wisdom."