July, 2024
July 2024
Humaid Al-Shamsi: What does it take to be a good doctor?
Jun 14, 2024, 00:26

Humaid Al-Shamsi: What does it take to be a good doctor?

Humaid Al-Shamsi, Director of Burjeel Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center, shared a post on LinkedIn:

“What does it take to be a good doctor?

I had a patient with a complex oncology condition who lived in a remote area. After a prolonged admission, he was ready for discharge but still at risk for complications. Although his distance from the hospital posed a significant risk if he became sick again, he wished to return home. To ensure his safety, I provided him with my direct cell phone number and the direct contact information of my team members, instructing him to reach out if he needed any assistance. ‘

This way, we could offer advice or coordinate with a nearby hospital to ensure he received the appropriate medical treatment if needed. He was given copies of his medical records too. Just before the last Eid, he went home and was doing well. However, on the second day of Eid, he called me with concerning symptoms. Since it wasn’t feasible for him to travel over three hours to our hospital, I directed him to the nearest emergency room.

I asked him to update me once he arrived so I could explain his condition to the attending physician and guide his treatment. Given his complex oncology condition, it was crucial for the ER physician to understand his detailed medical history, including bacterial resistance and previous drug side effects, to provide appropriate care.

Upon his arrival, the physician refused to take my call, telling the patient that “it wasn’t his job to receive instructions from outside physician and he knows what he is doing”. I couldn’t reach the doctor through the hospital operator, and without my knowledge of his treatment, his condition deteriorated over the next few days. Eventually, we managed to communicate with the team caring for him and requested his transfer to our hospital.

After being transferred, as expected we found out that the patient did not receive the appropriate treatment, He went through a very tough course, which could have been prevented if not for the physician’s ego, he eventually got better but remains in the hospital for over 2 months now. This incident underscores how physician ego, carelessness, and disrespect for other healthcare providers can lead to significant morbidity and put patients’ lives at risk.

This case also demonstrates how simple communication, which could have taken just a few minutes, could have saved the patient from significant risk and even possible death.

Physician ego is one of the biggest reasons for failure, whether at the beginning or peak of a career. I always tell my trainees and team members to put the patient first, regardless of their personal ego.

While confidence is necessary in the medical profession, an inflated ego can have detrimental effects on patient outcomes, as illustrated by this story.

Some physicians forget that we have taken an oath to prioritize our patients’ best interests above all else. We must always remember to keep this oath alive, no matter what.

So, what does it take to be a good doctor? Be humble first; everything else comes second.”

Source: Humaid Al-Shamsi/LinkedIn