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So many lawyers, so little time...

"The prospect of hanging focuses the mind wonderfully"--Samuel Johnson

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Location: Louisville, KY, United States

Gastroenterologist, cyclist, cellist, Christian, husband, father, grandfather.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

The Oracle

In each doctors' lounge resides an Oracle: an old physician who longs for the day when his Very Pronouncements were received reverently (I don't mean to sound sexist but I've never seen or even heard of a female Oracle). In my younger days if I found one of the rants interesting, I would listen politely and attentively. This only encouraged him. Many a lunch hour has been wasted as the Wisdom of the Oracle was dumped on me.

Now I'm more clever about it. I've trained myself to keep my eyes focused on the Wall Street Journal®, no matter how interesting the Oracle's rant might be. Otherwise the eye contact will doom you.

The Oracle was once holding forth about the malpractice crisis. Keeping my eyes fixed on the Journal, I could not believe what I was hearing.

"This situation has gotten out of hand and yada yada" said the Oracle. "I'll tell you what would put an end to this crap in one big hurry. One of my patients is a member of the local Underworld scene. He's told me that his organization would be more than happy to pay some of the plaintiffs and their lawyers a visit and convince them of the error of their ways".

Absolutely none of the physicians expressed the slightest interest in this approach to tort reform, and the subject was dropped. No mention of this was every made again, at least not within my hearing.

We all have dark moments, moments when we've been cut off by some road pig, moments when we imagine a wire-guided missle mounted on the roof of our car, moments when the pig's car is sighted and the trigger is pulled and the rocket speeds unerrantly and in one massive explosion it vanishes. The destruction is so complete there isn't any wreckage to move to the side of the road. The only reactions amongst the onlookers are admiration and just a bit of envy for not having a TOW missle of their own.

In my very darkest moments I contemplate the Oracle's approach to tort reform. So the plaintiff's lawyer is an evil bitch, is she? So she badgered me for seven flipping hours during my deposition, doing her best to paint me as an incompetent moron, did she? The Oracle's friends will take care of that. It would only take one well-publicized Unfortunate Event to serve notice to the rest of the sharks, like mounting the head of a traitor on a post on London Bridge as a warning to all the others. The rest of them would quickly look for other opportunities to defend the Public Trust. Suing McDonalds® and Wendys® should provide them sufficient income to finance their boat payments and beach houses.

I reflect on Chip Dodd's assurance that all emotions are good and that the anger that makes my hands tremble as I type this out will somehow lead to life. It arouses only rage.

With every ounce of energy I review what others are trying to teach me:

  • If hurt leads to healing, then healing can't come if I don't admit how bad it's hurting.
  • If others are hurting so badly, then what sense does it make to keep my own pain in hiding?
  • I've been involved in enough end-of-life issues that I know that I will not move on until I grieve over my losses.
  • I must admit that I have no idea how anger can lead to life, and must be willing to turn to others for instruction.
  • I must confront my fear of extinction instead of escaping into mindless pursuits.
  • I must also accept my shame as God's gift to prepare me to minister to others.
  • What guilt I feel must lead me to forgiving the guilt of others.
  • If I experience the slightest bit of gladness out of this sorry dung-heap, I'll surely recognize it as the Hand of God.


Blogger Aparna said...

Hi. Just thought to tell you that in the movie Matrix the Oracle was a lady :) The Oracle at Delphi in ancient Greece is also a lady by the way. She is Pythia, the priestess of Apollo.

3:18 PM  
Blogger JusPasenThru said...

Urska, you're right. I've just never seen one of them hanging around the doctors' lounge.

8:14 PM  
Blogger patti said...

I am so glad you stopped by my blog; I just read back about 8 of your posts and think you are really interesting! I'm sorry about the young man with Hodgkin's disease. How sad it is that nowadays, everyone thinks that they can just sue if they don't like the hand God has dealt them. And by the way, how can you remeber EVERY little thing you learned in medical school? Compared to the two cases you settled, how many thousands of people have you helped?

At my hospital so many of the OB-Gyns want to give up OB, because of the malpractice insurance. Thank you, John Edwards (I'm from NC).

Take care!

8:32 AM  

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