by Ken Vincent, Featured Contributor
Okay, now someone will surely say that is really a stupid question because it is obvious that we experience what we do because we are doing it. Well, I would submit that may not be the case at all.
Yesterday I went to my doctor for my quarterly visit which was a month late because he had had surgery himself. He said that he had learned a lot from that.
When a few nights later he woke with bad pain from an abscess he tried calling his surgeon to see if his self analysis was correct and get an opinion as to whether he could wait until morning or just get to the ER ASAP. My doctor said, “Do you know what it is like to not reach your doctor in a time of crisis? This is the man that you have faith in, that you let him cut you open while you were asleep. This is the man that clearly doesn’t care a lot about you as a patient. I got his recording that gave his office hours and told me that if there was a medical emergency I should go to the ER.
Well, I changed my recording to press 1 if there was an emergency. Two nights later I got a call from one of my patients that was clearly having a heart attack. I got her son’s number and told her what to do, that an ambulance was on the way. I called 911 and then her son. I went to see her in the hospital later on my way to the office. She cried while thanking me for being there for her.
He said, “I also learned what it is like for my patient when I tell him that he has prostrate cancer, or the mother when I tell her that her 8 year old has leukemia. I learned what anxiety and fear is like for them. I think I am a better doctor now.”
Does a lawyer have to be sued to understand the gravity of what that means to his client, or the client of the other lawyer?
Does the insurance agent have to have a wreck to understand the frustration of not being able to reach someone right away?
In my book I argue that every employer should lose his/her job unexpectedly once. Only then can he understand the financial and emotional stress that puts the person through. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t fire the person, presumably you have good cause to do that. But, it does enable you to do it in as humanely way as possible.
Have you really experienced what you do?