This past week a video went viral when a woman complained about the lengthy wait time at a clinic. On video, we see the physician asks if the patient still wants to be seen. The patient declines to be seen, yet complains patients should be informed they will not be seen in a timely manner. The frustrated physician replies, “Then fine…Get the hell out. Get your money and get the hell out.” While we do not witness events leading up to the argument between doctor and patient, we do know staff at the front desk called the police due to threats made by the patient to others.
Based on the statement released by Peter Gallogly, MD, he is a humble, thoughtful, and compassionate physician who was very concerned for the safety of his staff, which he considers “family.” Physicians like Dr. Gallogly do their best to serve patients, ease their suffering, and avoid losing ourselves to burnout at the same time. Every human being deserves our compassion, kindness, and clemency. Patients and physicians must accommodate each other when possible.
Do physicians actually deserve our mercy when necessary? Yes, they do. I should know. The kindness shown to me by my patients over the past month has been unparalleled, leaving this physician thankful beyond words.
My father has been a practicing pediatrician in our community for 47 years. As I type these words, he is dying in a hospital bed. We have worked side by side for the last 16 years. It is difficult to make it through the day, desperately hoping to hear his voice one last time in the clinic hallway. He was carrying a full patient load before an unexpected cardiac arrest ended his career. The patient load doubled overnight; it is a burden I am carrying alone.