Transitional Medicine
Poem--Healers & Healing
Journey of Hearts
A Healing Place in CyberSpaceTM
There comes a time when a patient has a terminal diagnosis, when as a physician you know there is nothing more you can do to help stop the disease process. All of the technical skills and modern medicine can only help to make a person more comfortable. 
We are taught in medical school to view death a failure and will go through a denial and bargaining phase..."If only I had ordered another test, started a different antibiotic, if only the patient had less extensive injuries, or had gotten to us sooner, if only..."
What I realized early on in my career, is that as physicians we are not invincible, or infallible. There are times when a test, a study, or an x-ray no longer make a difference. What makes the difference is having the time to just be, to hold a hand and give support. This is a lesson that I have learned many times over from the patients I have treated on Hospice. Their strength and courage has taught me that often the most difficult role of a physician is knowing when to "let go," and just "to be."


Healers and Healing
by Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS
the ancient covenant between physician and patient 
a promise to cure, 
to save, 
and to restore. 

Healing appears in many forms-- 
The right antibiotics for an infectious organism 
The curative chemotherapy for a malignant tumor 
The correct diagnosis in a complex case. 

But what of the terminal diagnosis 
with no treatment options 
when your diagnostic skills are no longer required 
your presence will not alter the course? 

Healing manifests on the purest level-- 
an extension of the soul, 
aiding in the acceptance of the process 
finding peace and serenity 
on the path leading to transition. 

Healing of 
and emotional distress. 
No longer with technical devices 
and the newest medication. 

But just 
A cheerful smile 
An open ear 
A gentle touch 
A warm embrace 
Taking the time to listen, to be 
to share a part of yourself. 

Healing becomes an expression of caring and love. 
The greatest gift of all 
may be the ability 
to walk with a person 
help provide them with strength 
and courage 
on their path to transition 
and then let go.

Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS
Last updated July 6, 1998
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