A Physician-Patient Connection

By Nicole Basler, MS3

person holding hand
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As with all writing published on Stories in Medicine, locations and names in this piece have been changed.

“Sometimes, we don’t have a clear explanation. Most miscarriages are due to some kind of chromosomal abnormality.”

I heard the sounds of sniffling as the patient grabbed a nearby tissue and blew her nose.

The physician continued softly, “There isn’t anything you could have done differently.”

She paused, as the patient bit her lip and cast her eyes downwards, visibly lost in her own thoughts.

Several moments of silence passed as the patient deliberated her next few words.

The silence was deafening, as it was a quiet afternoon in clinic, and while the exam room itself was rather small, even I sensed the air of heaviness and melancholy.

I looked at the two women in the room. The patient was seated on the exam table, staring at the rays of sunlight spilling through the window on the opposite wall.

The physician herself was several months pregnant, her bulging belly visible underneath the white coat she was wearing. She stood next to the exam table, close to the seated patient.

I slowly shifted my weight from one foot to the other from the corner of the room, trying not to disturb the interaction before me.

The patient finally said, “It took me a while to come to terms with it. But I realized that my body was telling me I wasn’t ready. If my body wants me to wait, then I guess I’ll wait.”

The physician placed her palm over the patient’s hand and gripped it tightly. The physician’s other hand instinctively came to rest on the side of her own belly.

Both women locked eyes as they held hands.

One mourning the loss of a baby, the other a few months away from giving birth to new life.

One radiating pain and sadness as she attempted to find peace in her situation, the other consoling her with an outpouring of compassion and empathy.

The interaction lasted a few powerful seconds, but I felt a deep energy between them.

An emotional connection that transcended the physician-patient relationship. Two unique outcomes during their shared journeys to motherhood.

~~

Nicole Basler is a 3rd year medical student pursuing family medicine with an interest in health communication. She likes playing the piano and trying new foods in her spare time.

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