Tuesday, 12 August 2008


Today was relatively quiet, I was not rushed and had time to relax and observe what was going on. Following my post yesterday, I could see that I did indeed appear to be adopting a warm, approachable and supportive manner with occasional glimpses of humour. How very odd!

In the middle of the day I visited an elderly lady at home. She had already had a TIA in the past and her husband was now worried she might be having a stroke because her speech was sometimes slurred. We all sat down and I watched her intently as she talked. From time to time she would stop, and then start again. Was she simply pausing for thought? Or was her speech and perhaps her entire consciousness on the verge of being snuffed out forever? It was an uncomfortable thought, because there was nothing I could about it. All her risk factors are well controlled - I could do nothing more for her and her concerned husband. Truly, our existence hangs by a thread. In the end I decided that she was alright and reassured her husband, which was at least something I could do. To cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always. That's the job description.


Anonymous said...

"To cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always."

A very good philosophy for a GP (in fact any doctor). It is a shame that some doctors don't have this philosophy.

XE said...

"To cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always."

I'm going to post that on my wall, as a reminder of why I'm going into medicine in the first place.

Dr Andrew Brown said...

The quotation was made famous by Dr Edward Trudeau, a 19th century doctor who ran a TB sanatorium, but it seems that it comes from a French folk saying that goes back several centuries earlier.

Guérir quelquefois, soulager souvent, consoler toujours.

There's a good page here by Dr William Cayley.