Friday, March 13, 2009


Kevin twittered my pharmacy post as

"Interesting how you don't really notice extreme competence until it is replaced with incompetence":
I wish I could say things as concisely as he can. I was trying to think of how to explain that most of our medical dealings are characterized by "extreme competence". You tend to just accept it, though, like the air you breathe, gratefully but not consciously, until it's NOT there.

So THANK YOU THANK YOU to all the health care professionals and therapists who are quietly doing their job competently and thoroughly, and they are legion. I am always surprised at how many people are thoroughly competent, which makes it so surprising when we encounter the reverse. Even most of the individuals I dealt with at the pharmacy in the past couple of weeks fell into this category as individuals. They were cleaning up other peoples' messes.... which indicates the need for not only individual conscientiousness, but also a supervisory emphasis on efficiency.

1 comment:

Laura A said...

I appreciated your post yesterday (or was it the day before? the one about the pharmacy). I've never had anything that bad happen, but I think we all know those moments where we can't figure out why no one realizes we're real people. I was frankly amazed at your patience. New York is notorious for this kind of thing, and I've seen a lot of scenes.

I think there's something about the bureaucratic nature of medicine that adds to the frustration of falling victim to someone else's mistake (and what's worse, their refusal to take responsibility for it). So it's partly systematic, but I don't know the answer, either, because as impersonal as our system can be, it helps people greatly and saves a lot of lives partly *because* medicine is systematic.

But, I do also get your point about there being lots of kind and thorough people, some of whom we never see. I've always been sort of afraid to have to stay in a hospital in the city, but it happened last week, and when it got right down to it, I was thoroughly impressed with how kind everyone was. And I probably won't even see most of them again, so it was a thankless sort of kindness.

I'm sure you know tons more about this than I do, but I just wanted to say I hear you on both accounts.