Home » Biography & Memoir » Ernest W. AbernathyM.D. » Memoirs Of A Medicine Man

May 21 , 2009

Memoirs Of A Medicine Man

What Medical School Forgot To Mention


The practice of medicine or surgery is not just sore throats, colds and the flu, removing gall bladders, or back aches and belly aches. It is, however, a roller-coaster cornucopia of people and events where drama, comedy, the heights of joy and the depths of sadness are only moments away, as if a revolving door is constantly ejecting the next encounter - a child with appendicitis, a broken arm, the Ku Klux Klan with death threats, gunshot wounds, snake handlers, con artists, sex, racism, rape, a sweet old lady with arthritis, or some addict - a never-ending myriad.

Thankfully, most of my patients and I grew old together in an air of love and mutual respect, in an era of closeness between patients and doctors, when doctors really cared — not only about the patient''s health, but also about the patients themselves.

Medical school forgot to mention ethics, or talk about humanistic qualities, abstract values outside the world of science. The patient is not just a patient case, (that "gallbladder" in room 911), or a number, but is a unique human being, with emotions, feelings, worthiness, fears, hopes and worries, as well as the capabilities of understanding and courage in the face of disaster. He or she deserves full respect.

"Ten Years of Rape," "Green Door of Racism," "Save A Sexist and Lose A Patient," and "The Comedy Corner" are true stories about the people who traverse these pages, a few of the curious encounters in my forty-year love affair with helping people - sometimes called the practice of medicine.

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