Amber E. King, PharmD, BCPS
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"Finding Joy in Uncertainty," by Amber E. King, PharmD, BCPS
Mary Ann Kliethermes
September 11, 2019
Conflict of Interest:
As a past faculty member, clinical practitioner and mother, kudos to your strength, your story and your willingness to share.
Bimal K Agrawal
M M Institute of Medical Sciences & Research, Maharishi Markandeshwar Deemed to be University, Mullana, Ambala,India
September 25, 2019
Relearning The Art of Medicine
Amber King reminded me of the book Only 10 Seconds to Care(1) by Wendy S. Harpham. As Amber says, life is full of uncertainties. But we don't realise this until a tragic event occurs. Then we bring order to our chaotic life and start making connections with ‘life’ once again. People like Amber King and Wendy are an inspiration to physicians like me. They motivate us to be more empathetic, to deal with patients directly and extend a helping hand to any who need it. These are matters not to be delegated. In the quest of the science of Medicine, we are neglecting the art of Medicine.
This video made me pick up the book again and go back to some old favourites. Dr Wendy, having seen the world from both sides—as a doctor and as a patient—is uniquely placed to guide a caring physician. The author didn't want to know whether she has achieved remission from her disease. She preferred to live in uncertainties rather than to know the answer. There are many things I learned from the book. One can learn how to communicate and articulate to offer hope without having your patient develop false expectations. A physician needs to be more careful and sensitive in his utterances. Something as innocuous as ‘you are looking good’ can be misconstrued by a patient who is ill or feeling downright miserable.
Hearing Amber King’s story or reading Dr Wendy’s book equips us to relearn the lost art of Medicine. It gives me more satisfaction when I treat the patient, not merely the disease. It means helping the patients not to give up, extending support to them in their suffering.
1 Harpham Wendy S , Only 10 Seconds to Care, Philadelphia, ACP Press, 2009.
King AE. Annals Story Slam - Finding Joy in Uncertainty. Ann Intern Med. 2019;171:SS1. doi: https://doi.org/10.7326/W19-0012
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2019;171(5):SS1.
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