because doctors often deal with life-and-death decisions, we have sometimes been unceremoniously accused of playing God, as if dictating who should live & who should not. i occasionally have to encounter these circumstances myself but i'd like to think that i always have the patient & the family's interest at heart, although it may not be taken in positive light.
but i leave playing God to ..... God.
last nite, we had this particular difficult case in surgery. the patient had a huge pancreatic cyst which required removal together with a portion of the pancreas. pancreatic surgery is fraught with landmines as it is, so after 4 labourious hours, it was finally excised.
& right there & then, a small vessel started bleeding profusely. this was immediately dealt with, but not after 250ml of blood had been lost within minutes. (note: the excision of the cyst had resulted in a litre blood loss earlier)
this was when one of the doctors exclaimed : thank God, it bled now & not later!
if the bleeding had occured later when the patient was in the ward, the outcome would have been catastrophic. the rapid blood loss would have cause immediate deterioration in the patient's condition & there might not be time to re-explore the abdomen in OT. most likely, it'll be a one-way trip to the morgue.
seriously, when we doctors have our heads firmly screwed unto the shoulders, we realise we are just pawns on the medical chessboard. God alone decides which piece will be moved.
i just pray there aren't too many checkmates on my watch.