As a family doc, I'm not in the business of 'saving lives', at least, not Hollywood style. I don't crack chests, intubate, perform emergency surgery to remove ischemic bowel, or prescribe chemotherapy. As such, I don't expect the high drama that accompanies such procedures and specialties (part of why I decided against emergency medicine.)
Older patient, multiple documentations on her chart of refusal of mammography from prior physicians. Would have taken 3.7 seconds to recommend it again and note again on the chart her refusal, as had been done multiple times before. But, deciding that I had a good rapport and an opportunity, I took the extra time to discuss the procedure, the benefits, and the increased chance of cure with early diagnosis. She reluctantly accepted the referral.
Early ductal carcinoma. Removed in it's entirety with a lumpectomy. No nodes. For all intents and purposes, she's cured.
I'm so pleased for her, so tickled with myself for taking the time. You always want to, but don't always do it.
So the next time I see her, what do I get?
"That surgeon saved my life."
Now, granted, he's a great surgeon. If I got breast cancer, in his hands I'd be.
But dammit, I saved her life. He just did what any talented surgeon would do.
If I wanted the high drama, I would have chosen a different specialty. But sometimes, a little appreciation would be nice.