Thursday, May 19, 2005

Words of Wisdom from Greg Henry

I was doing some research on other Emergency Medicine Physician blogs and came upon an interesting post at Emerg Med Doc. I copied the relevant portion of the site and shared it with our Chief Medical Officer, Ken Schultheis, and he shared with me news of his respect for Dr. Henry. The post is available in Emerg Med Doc's archives, and is reproduced below.

Words of Wisdom from Greg Henry

For those of you who do not know, Dr. Greg Henry is one of Emergency Medicines preeminent philosophers, and educators. Having heard him speak on many occasions, I would describe his style as in-your-face eloquence. Anyway, I wanted to summarize some points he made in a recent article, because they are not only relevant to medicine but also to life. If we were to live by these philosophic truths, the world would be a better place.

1. Life Goes On - No matter how bad today is, the sun will come up tomorrow. I tell this to my kids when they have had one of those days of complete misbehavior. Tomorrow is a new day, and God let's start all over again.

2. Treat Everyone As a One - As Dr. Henry says this is incredibly simple, but very difficult. Basically, it is that everyone thinks you will treat them like they see you treat others. Therefore, how we behave matters. Perception matters. Using simple common courtesy, admitting you are wrong, your general attitude all matter not only to you but to those around you. Ever have a bad day because all the people around you are in a bad mood or have a bad attitude?

3. Be Slow to Criticize Other Physician's Methods - What may have once been viewed as poor practice may become truth and vice versa. The fact is that most of what we do has little to know evidence to back it up.

4. There Is No Scientific Fact That Can Tell Us How to Live- Basically, there is no science to tell us how to relate to one another.

5. Happiness for a Healthcare Practitioner Also Needs To Be Defined - Happiness should not be a goal but rather a method of travel. We spend too much time wallowing in self-pity and whining in our daily lives and in medicine. If you are miserable being a doctor or a plumber, then do something else. A physician's happiness should come from helping people when they are in their worst in whatever small way possible.

6. Emergency Medicine (or any career) Is Not Your Life - We all say yes too much to our jobs and no to our families. You have to maintain your life connections with those who mean the most to you. These relations do not come easily and require regular maintenance.

7. Success - Is is money, power, fame, status? More likely these are byproducts of success, but are a poor excuse for goals. Sit down with your spouse or family and decide what will give your lives meaning and purpose.

8. Certain Insights Come to You Harder Than Others - When we are young we are tricked into believing that life is mostly about amusement and sex. As we get older, age , have children, watch the ebb and flow of human misery we realize that life is mostly about problems and problem solving. Life is not about avoiding pain, but how we handle and confront those painful situations and resolve them with grace and consistency in belief.

9. Getting To the Point - Basically this is that the direct answer is not always black and white, and sometimes questioning the way we found the answer is most important part of the process.

10. Honor - Is honor dead? I hope not, but it does seem lacking in so many. Giving your word and keeping it. Doing what you said you would do. Never inflicting unnecessary emotional or physical pain. It is an attitude of how you will treat yourself, others and situations.


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