Friday, September 22, 2017

primum non nocere

that, in latin, means 1st, do no harm.

i've not always adhered to that principle - blame it on immaturity, anger, or just plain callousness. i recalled an incident very early in my training when the senior consultant of the department ( aka The Boss) hauled me into his office to give me a mouthful.

on that morning, i had a dispute with a consultant of another department over the management of a child. in anger, i walked out on the child, to whom i had just given some sedation. that consultant rightly complained to my Boss about what i just did (the argument & subsequent abandonment of the child) & that was just 1 of many reprimands for wrongdoing in my career. yeah, i was a serial offender - bad, bad doctor!

however, i learned valuable lessons that day....

1st, my patient becomes my responsibility, no matter what i had for breakfast, how miserable i felt or who i fought with. his well-being is my priority.

2nd, to err is human, to forgive is divine. my Boss censured me in the privacy of his office, thereby sparing me the humiliation of a public flogging. that, IMHO, constituted a pardon in itself, & till this day, i appreciated that magnanimous gesture. therefore, it was with much sadness when i read last year that he had passed away from cancer.

so, it's ok to be human - to resent, to antagonise, to show displeasure. were we not from the fallen beings of eden? paul has this valuable counsel:

"in your anger do not sin. do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." ephesians 4 : 26,27

** this post is a saved draft from 2007. I don't remember why I didn't post it then, but here it is...a reminder to myself that it's OK to start badly but must finish strong **

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