Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Spikes World Wildlife Food
As a vet I will have to deal with regular loss, from patients that just cannot be saved to the patients where it is kinder to relieve their suffering with euthanasia. Last Friday I experienced a first with the loss of a horse whose owner spoke English, and who I had spent time speaking to in the treatment of the patient. This horse had chronic long term problems before being referred to us. The patient was stable on Thursday evening, yet when I arrived on Friday morning was in acute colic with suspected rupture of the gastrointestinal tract.
Now I will say that these owners whilst obviously upset found the same positive that I find in these situations, they found the learning experience. A vet is not just there to patch up animals, they have the task of educating owners (and sometimes being educated by owners) so I found it interesting being part of this discussion for the first time. To be honest this also helped me as I do not like losing, so seeing some good come out of it was a good thing.
Now personally I hate losing patients, however for each one that I lose (and I remember them all) I have learnt something. Its made me a better student, and one day a better doctor. I no longer assume anything, and will take the laughter that is dished up when asking a stupid question as sometimes I am right. I’ve learnt that no one knows all the answers, that discussion and throwing ideas out there in a group is sometimes the way to a solution to a problem. That taking an extra 10 minutes to do a clinical exam is ok, or even when I have nothing on me just reaching out to check the pulse, glancing at the posture and touching the patient can tell me a lot. Taking 30 seconds to check a patients name before working with them is good too, and when no one is looking having a conversation with them is pretty normal too.
Most of all I’ve learnt that I can be as good as I want to be if I put the work in, the only expectations I have to live up to are mine. Its not ok for me to be average because that is not me, I will push myself as far as I can, whether it is reading that extra article, studying up on an alternative treatment or just making sure I understand exactly what went wrong.
This way, next time, I may be able to do better.