Do No Harm, Take No Shit

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  • Scent Notes
    Plums, nectarines, apricots, and blackberries sparkle on a bed of sage and fallen leaves deep in the autumnal forest.
  • Description

      Scent Notes: Plums, nectarines, apricots, and blackberries sparkle on a bed of sage and fallen leaves deep in the autumnal forest.

      Dr. Wendy had always been a bit of a contradiction. She held both a Medical Doctor degree and a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree. She was a firm believer in both science and nature, because in her mind, one didn’t function without the other. Nature is the basis for everything, but we evolved to use science to our advantage, so why not use both to the best of her ability? That was her motto. Well, really, her motto had evolved over years of work in medicine of all types and working with people from all walks of life, with all kinds of beliefs. For example, she’d convinced many a hippie into a necessary flu shot, and persuaded science-loving humans that upping their Vitamin D intake in the winter really could help their mood if they’re suffering from seasonal depression. She herself took a daily anti-anxiety medication, along with a multivitamin and probiotic. Why not take care of your body from all possible angles?

      Of course, this multifaceted approach was not appreciated by everyone. Some viewed her as too “hippie,” or too “alternative,” while those who identified as such would balk at her use of Western medicine. But the people who understood her were her patients for life. Plus, she took the code of medical ethics extremely seriously. If she offered a patient a choice of treatment and, after careful review and thorough research they rejected it, she supported their decision. That doesn’t mean she was a pushover, however. 

      She was currently training a new office/medical assistant at her personal practice. Her name was Bethany, and she was a sweetheart. But that was both a blessing and a curse in this profession. Bethany hadn’t toughened herself up enough, and any rudeness from patients she still took very personally. It’d been a bit of a rough week, truth be told. For some reason, there had been an influx of new patients who didn’t “get” her practice or Dr. Wendy herself. Weeks like this happen rarely now, but they still happened, and training new staff on top of that didn’t seem to help matters.  It was early afternoon on Friday, and Bethany’s nerves were shaken. The final new patient of the week was waiting in the exam room, and he was angry. Dr. Wendy was running behind (and aren’t we all by the end of the week?) but it was barely ten minutes from the moment Bethany told Dr. Wendy he was checked in and waiting to when Dr. Wendy herself walked in to see him. She took the final bite of her nectarine and dropped the pit in the trash as she walked in. “I do apologize, a patient ran late and I needed a quick bite to eat; I haven’t eaten since 6:30 this morning!” Rather than being understanding, the patient lost his mind. He started screaming and cursing about how women shouldn’t be doctors; how he is too important to be kept waiting; he was only here to get a fourth opinion because the first three doctors were all wrong with what they found; and all of that laden with a slew of obscenities. Bethany had come running in when the shouting began and stood, stunned, in the doorway. Dr. Wendy, however, remained eerily calm during the whole tirade. 

      When he finally stopped shouting, Dr. Wendy didn’t say anything. She stood with a blank face, staring him directly in the eye. After a solid minute of silence, Bethany asked, “Dr. Wendy? Are you … okay?” Her voice quavered. Dr. Wendy turned and gave Bethany a big smile. “Why yes, I am quite fine. I was waiting to see if I was going to get an apology for that horrible, undeserved tirade. But clearly, that’s not coming. So, sir, I am sorry, please leave my office and never show your face here again. And you can bet I’ll let all my colleagues in the area know about your horrible temper and general attitude. In fact, your previous doctor had reached out to let me know you were a bit … sensitive, but I’ll make sure everyone knows how you act in no uncertain terms. Good day.” With that, she turned and strode out of the room, Bethany hot on her heels. “Dr. Wendy! Can we … do that? We can’t just let him leave! He clearly needs a lot of help.” Dr. Wendy pulled Bethany into an empty room. They heard the disgruntled patient slam the door of his exam room open and shut, and storm down the hallway threatening lawsuits and cursing as loud as he possibly could. “He does need help, I agree, but we can’t help him,” Dr. Wendy answered calmly. “Now, listen, I know we live by a code of ethics, and do no harm is at the top of the list of rules we follow, right?” Bethany nodded. “And it still is. However, in my practice, it’s a little different, and I want you to remember this.” Dr. Wendy smiled wide as Bethany nodded earnestly. “Do no harm, but take no shit.” 

      Scent Notes: Plums, nectarines, apricots, and blackberries sparkle on a bed of sage and fallen leaves deep in the autumnal forest.

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