Paul Rousseau

jpo80020_2722_2722.pdfThe want to be well permeates a person’s life when the first sign of disease knocks on the door of invincibility. I know this not because I am a physician, but because I accompanied a loved one on a far-too-short journey through the horror and poverty of disease. I saw her fear, her suffering, and her eyes filled with the fading of light—she wanted nothing more than the normalcy of good health.

Has medicine become such a business that the human factor has been relegated to the trash heap? Has the paucity of autonomy or even a falling income usurped the humanistic qualities of our worthy profession? Could it be that we lack empathic and compassionate mentors to plant humanistic seeds among young, impressionable physicians? Are we simply selecting the wrong people for medical school? Or does the rigorous training that ensues during the residency years generate an emotional egress of what attracted us to this principled and honorable profession in the first place: to relieve the suffering of a fellow human being, be it physical, social, spiritual, or emotional?

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3 Responses to Paul Rousseau

  1. shinichi says:

    by Paul Rousseau, MD
    A Piece of My Mind
    June 18, 2008

    The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
    JAMA. 2008;299(23):2722. doi:10.1001/jama.299.23.2722.

    Pamela was 51 years old, an accountant, and the mother of our two daughters. She was a nonsmoker and an exerciser, with a fairly benign medical history except for an aunt with multiple sclerosis and a cousin with Crohn disease. She was a stickler for details, a characteristic that can indubitably worsen the apprehension surrounding the significance of symptoms, as I’m sure it did with her. And although Pamela was blessed with a supportive family, disease and death are lonely companions that humble our arrogance and introduce us to the numbing realities of humility and mortality. Her verbal journal is unsettling and tells such a tale.

  2. shinichi says:

    Seventy-two Hours
    by Paul Rousseau, MD
    A Piece of My Mind
    August 27, 2008

    The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
    JAMA. 2008;300(8):882-883. doi:10.1001/jama.300.8.882.

  3. shinichi says:

    Has Medicine Lost Its Compassion And Humanism?

    You ask if medicine has changed . . .

    I am so old that I remember when patients were cared for gratis—they got admitted to the hospital without insurance. Today, costs and liability concerns have taken the human touch out of medical care, and general practitioners can’t get into the hospital to see patients. Hospitalists work for the hospital, not for the patient.

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